Housing Starts: A statistic referencing the number of residential building construction projects beginning during a specific period of time (most commonly a month). This serves as a key economic indicator of the viability and confidence in the housing market as well as the national economy.
It has been in the headlines for weeks now, but with winter finally settling in and marking the end of yet another year, the housing market continues its trend rising 3.6% in October, the highest rate since July of 2008. Housing starts are reporting to have grown nearly 40% compared to the peak the market achieved in 2006 at 2.27 million.
Seasonally adjusted, housing starts annual rate in October was 894,000 units with a particular spike, 11.9%, in multifamily homes (attributed for the high demand for rentals). Comparatively, single family homes held steady at their 594,000 units.
"This report is in line with our latest builder surveys, which show improving confidence and optimism in the marketplace as buyers take advantage of low mortgage rates and very attractive prices," says Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders. "Builders are acting to meet rising demand while continuing to exercise caution by pulling a modest increase in the number of single family permits as the market continues to gradually gain its footing."
Specifically, the West (YAY MONTANA!) saw the greatest gains at 17.2% followed by the Midwest (8.9%), Northeast (6.5%), and the South (2.5%) respectively.
Source: “Housing Starts Hit Highest in Four Years,” Reuters (Nov. 20, 2012) and the National Association of Home Builders