According to a new report from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development and Commerce Department, led by a surge in multifamily production, total housing starts rose 12.3 percent in August 2019 to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.36 million units from an upwardly revised reading in July 2019. This is the highest level since May 2007.
The August reading of 1.36 million starts is the number of housing units builders would begin if they kept this pace for the next 12 months. Within this overall number, single-family starts increased 4.4 percent to 919,000 units. The multifamily sector, which includes apartment buildings and condos, jumped 32.8 percent to a 445,000 pace.
"This solid report is in line with our latest survey on builder sentiment," said Greg Ugalde, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). "However, builders continue to wrestle with affordability concerns stemming from excessive regulations and other supply-side challenges."
"Housing has been on an upswing in recent months as the pace of permits and starts has been rising since spring," NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. "While these are positive developments, single-family starts are down 2.7 percent year-to-date as the catch up process continues."
On a regional and year-to-date basis, combined single-family and multifamily starts in August rose 4.4 percent in the South. Starts declined 1.8 percent in Northeast, 5.6 percent in the Midwest and 11.3 percent in the West.
Overall permits, which are a harbinger of future housing production, increased 7.7 percent to a 1.42 million unit annualized rate in August. Single-family permits increased 4.5 percent to a 866,000 rate while multifamily permits rose 13.3 percent to a 553,000 pace.
Looking at regional permit data on a year-to-date basis, permits rose 5.7 percent in the Northeast and 1.6 percent in the South. Permits fell 6.9 percent in the Midwest and 5.6 percent in the West.
International property consultant CBRE is reporting this week that global commercial real estate investment volume in Q4 of 2019, including entity-level deals, was nearly level (-0.5%) with Q4 2018, while full-year volume fell by 2% from 2018.
According to new research by Zillow, the total value of every home in the U.S. is $33.6 trillion, nearly as much as the GDP of the two largest global economies combined -- the U.S. ($20.5 trillion) and China ($13.6 trillion).
Based on CoreLogic's latest Home Price Index for November 2019, U.S. home prices rose both year over year and month over month. Home prices increased nationally by 3.7% from November 2018. On a month-over-month basis, prices increased by 0.5% in November 2019.
According to the National Association of Realtors, existing-home sales fell in November 2019, taking a small step back after October's gains. The Northeast and Midwest both reported growth last month, while the South and West saw sales decline.
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