NAHB: Housing starts regain some ground in FebruaryMortgagePress.comNAHB, U.S. Commerce Department, new home starts, National Association of Home Builders, David Crowe, Joe Robson
Nationwide housing starts turned upward for the first time in
eight months this February, posting a 22.2 percent gain that was
due primarily to a big bump on the often-volatile multifamily side,
according to numbers recently released from the U.S. Commerce
"While welcome news, this gain only reflects a modest rebound
from January, which was the worst month in history for new-home
production," said National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)
Chief Economist David Crowe. "The majority of the gain was due to
characteristic volatility on the multifamily side, while
single-family housing starts were up just over one percent for the
"Builders did pull a larger volume of single-family permits in
February, suggesting a glimmer of hope for the prime home buying
season, which is near at hand," said NAHB Chairman Joe Robson, a
home builder from Tulsa, Okla. "That said, we realize theres a need
to be extremely cautious in terms of new building activity going
forward, because theres still quite a lot of inventory out there
that needs to be absorbed as foreclosures continue to flood the
market in many areas."
Total U.S. housing starts rose 22.2 percent to a seasonally
adjusted annual rate of 583,000 units in February. This gain
reflected an 82.3 percent surge to a 226,000-unit pace on the
multifamily side and a 1.1 percent gain to a 357,000-unit pace on
the single-family side.
Regionally, the only area of the country to post a lower rate of
total housing starts for February was the West, with a 24.6 percent
decline. The Northeast posted the largest gain, of 88.6 percent,
reflecting a rebound from a nearly equal decline in the previous
month. Meanwhile, the Midwest posted a 58.5 percent gain following
a deep plunge in January, and the South posted a 30.2 percent gain.
January-February averages were well below the monthly averages for
the final quarter of 2008 in all regions of the country.
Building permits, which can be an indicator of future building
activity, rose three percent overall to a seasonally adjusted
annual rate of 547,000 units in February. This reflected an 11
percent gain in single-family permits to 373,000 units and a 10.8
percent decline in multifamily permits to 174,000 units.
By region, building permits recorded a 27.6 percent gain in the
Northeast, no change in the Midwest, a nearly 6 percent improvement
in the South, and a 13.6 percent decline in the West in
For more information, visit www.nahb.com.