Housing Construction Pauses

Total housing starts fell almost 6% in March but the decline was due entirely to a 17% fall in apartment construction. In contrast, building permits, a prelude to future construction, were up 4.5% due entirely to a 21% rise in permits for apartment buildings. The diametric outcome is the result of uncommonly warm and dry weather early in 2012 that advanced some construction to January and February as well as the normal monthly fluctuations especially in apartment construction.
On a quarterly basis, advances from the fourth quarter of 2011 to the first quarter of 2012 were consistently positive: 2.4% and 2.5% for single-family and multifamily starts and 6.7% and 9.1% for single-family and multifamily permits. Region permit data was also consistently up for all four Census regions but was split for starts data with Northeast and South up and the Midwest and West down 18% and 6% respectively.
The March starts report issued jointly by the US Census Bureau and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development demonstrates the variable nature of the current housing recovery. While NAHB expects annual growth in 2012 to be 18%, the beginning of the year has been slowed by continued tight credit condition for consumers and spotty regional economic recovery. In general, the markets showing some signs of recovery are smaller markets representing about one-quarter of the population. Until the recovery begins in more populous areas, the national data will show only modest improvement.

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  1. March Starts: Housing Construction Pauses | Georgia Mountain Real Estate
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