New house construction makes major leap in November

Housing starts jumped most in the South, by 16.3 percent.

New House Construction Make Major Leap

Privately-owned housing starts rose 9.3 percent year-over-year in November, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report. The annualized rate of 1.56 million housing starts was also up 14.8 percent from October’s estimate.

Overall, single-family housing starts increased by 18 percent from October to November, at its highest rate since April 2022, according to Bloomberg. The gain in multifamily housing starts was more modest, at 6.9 percent month-to-month.

Housing starts increased the most in the South, which saw an increase of 16.3 percent year-over-year.

Increased activity isn’t the only positive metric coming out of the construction industry this week. Homebuilder sentiment also ticked upwards this month for the first time in five months, a result of increased buyer interest and an improved sales outlook, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo’s survey.

A jump in housing starts is welcome news for a housing market that has been struggling with low inventory and historically high mortgage rates for months.

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Builders may have sought to increase production to make up for the inventory gap sooner, but labor shortages and recession fears complicated that.

In a statement, Zillow senior economist Nicole Bachaud predicted that the continued easing of mortgage rates could help builders maintain momentum going into the new year.

Permit applications, meanwhile, were a mixed bag. The indicator of future construction dropped 2.5 percent from October, though it gained 4.1 percent annually. The drop was due to fewer multifamily projects, as single-family permits hit their highest level since May 2022, according to Bloomberg.

Housing starts aren’t the only thing increasing for builders recently — stock charts are, too. As of late Tuesday afternoon, Lennar (61.5 percent), Toll Brothers (104.9 percent), Hovnanian (258.2 percent) and the S&P Homebuilders Select Industry Index (55.2 percent) are all seeing drastic year-to-date rises in their stocks.

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