Housing Starts, Permits Rebound in February


The rise in single-family housing starts in February are the highest since April 2022. In the South, combined single-family and multifamily starts are 15.7% higher than the previous month.

WASHINGTON – Single-family housing starts increased 10.7% in February to their highest level since April 2022, boosted by pent-up demand, moderating interest rates and a lack of existing inventory, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Census Bureau.  

Overall housing starts increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.52 million units in February – 5.9% higher than in February 2023. The multifamily sector, which includes apartment buildings and condos, increased 8.3% to an annualized 392,000 pace, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) said. In the South, which includes Florida, combined single-family and multifamily starts are 15.7% higher compared to the previous month. The February reading is the number of housing units builders would begin if development kept this pace for the next 12 months.

“The solid level of single-family production in February tracks closely with rising builder sentiment, and with mortgage rates expected to moderate further this year, this will provide an added boost for single-family building,” said Carl Harris, NAHB chairman and a custom home builder from Wichita, Kan. “But policymakers need to help the industry’s supply-chains in order to protect housing affordability and add much needed supply to boost inventory.”

“Single-family housing is poised for a good year in 2024 with starts and permits on an upward trend,” said Danushka Nanayakkara-Skillington, NAHB’s assistant vice president for forecasting and analysis. “The uptick in single-family permits is good news for the industry, which was hit hard by tight monetary policy last year. However, builders still face several supply-side challenges in the form of shortages and higher prices for buildable lots and labor.”

On a regional basis compared to the previous month, combined single-family and multifamily starts are 10.3% lower in the Northeast, 50.7% higher in the Midwest and 7.9% lower in the West.

Overall permits increased 1.9% to a 1.52 million unit annualized rate in February. Single-family permits increased 1.0% to a 1.03 million unit rate. Multifamily permits increased 4.1% to an annualized 487,000 pace.

Looking at regional permit data compared to the previous month, permits are 36.2% higher in the Northeast, 3.8% higher in the Midwest, 1.3% lower in the South and 6.8% lower in the West.

The number of apartments under construction fell to 983,000 in February, while the number of single-family homes under construction stood at 683,000.

© 2024 Florida Realtors®

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