According to New Residential Construction data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce this morning, single-family housing starts decreased 3.3% in December to a pace of 768,000, down from November's revised pace of 794,000. December's pace is still a 6.1% increase year-over-year, and comes in the wake of November's surge, which marked the fastest pace for single-family starts in 2015 thus far. December is the sixth consecutive month where starts have stayed above a pace of 700,000.
The pace of one-unit starts dropped in every region of the U.S. in December, most notably in the west, with a 6.2% drop month-over-month. Year-over-year however, the northeast, south, and west all saw positive growth (a massive 25% increase in the Northeast), while the midwest posted a notable 18.9% decrease in 1-unit starts compared to December 2014.
Overall, permits fell 3.9% in December, attributed to a 13.5% drop in permits issued for structures with 5 units or more. Conversely, permits issued for 1-unit structures and 2-4 units structures increased month-over-month, 1.8% and 27.6%, respectively. Builders in the Northeast and South secured the most permits for single-family structures in December, with a 3.7% and 3.6% increase, respectively.
The pace of single-family home completions is still lagging behind the pace of starts, but the gap narrowed this month due to an 8.8% increase in completions during December, coupled with the 3.3% decrease in starts. The midwest posted the most dramatic change month-over-month for 1-unit completions with a 38.3% increase, followed by the West (11.3% increase) and South (3.9%). The Northeast was the only region to post a decrease in December, with single-family completions down 9.3% month-over-month.
See the full release and data here >>