Housing Starts Increase Slightly in July

August 17th, 2018 by Drew Vass

According to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Commerce Department, total housing starts have gone up 0.9 percent in July to a rounded out seasonal rate of 1.17 million units. Single-family starts rose 0.9 percent making it 862,000 units, while multifamily rose 3 percent to 306,000.

“Builder confidence remains solid, although it has fallen back somewhat in recent months due to rising construction costs in 2018, including lumber,” states National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Chairman Randy Noel. “As builders grapple with higher costs, one positive development is that lumber prices have shown signs of easing the past two months off their record high levels posted in June.”

Due to cost concerns, 25 percent of authorized single-family homes have not been started yet.

“Supply-side challenges including increases in material prices and chronic labor shortages are affecting affordability in many markets,” states NAHB chief economist Robert Dietz. “However, consumer demand remains strong due to a growing economy and job market and favorable demographics. Moreover, on a year-to-date basis, single-family construction has shown steady progress, up 7.2 percent, while 5+ multifamily production is up 3.4 percent as well.”

Single-family and multifamily housing starts rose 11.6 percent in July and 10.4 percent in the Midwest and in the South, respectively. However, the Northeast posted a 4 percent decline, and starts have fallen 19.6 percent in the West due to cost constraints in the costal markets. In July, single-family and multifamily permits rose 1.5 percent to 1.31 million units.

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