Single-Family Starts Growth Slowed in Seven Divisions in 2019

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According to NAHB analysis of the Survey of Construction (SOC), nationally, 891,068 new single-family units were started in 2019, 1% higher than the units started in 2018. It was 107% higher than the trough of 2011 (430,677 units).

Among all the nine Census divisions, new single-family units started in the South Atlantic, West South Central and Mountain Divisions exceeded 100k in 2019. These three divisions represent 21 states, approximately 41% of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., while the number of new single-family housing starts in these three divisions accounted for about 64% of the total new single-family housing starts in 2019.

In addition, there were 96,610 new single-family units started in the Pacific Division and 70,838 units started in the East North Central Division in 2019. The Pacific Division accounted for 11% of the total new single-family housing starts, while the East North Central Division accounted for 8%. The other four divisions, including East South Central, West North Central, Middle Atlantic and New England, accounted for the remaining 17% of the total new single-family housing starts.

The scatter plot below compares the nine Census divisions’ annual growth rates of new single-family housing starts in 2018 and 2019. The red line represents the national level in 2019. The X-axis presents the annual growth rates in 2018; the Y-axis presents the annual growth rates in 2019. Each division grew at the different pace, while, nationally, new single-family housing starts rose by 1%. Three out of the nine divisions grew faster than the national level. The South Atlantic Division led the way with an 8% increase, followed by the West North Central Division and the West South Central Division, both increasing by 7% in 2019. The growth rates of the other six divisions were negative and below the national level.

Compared to last year, the West North Central Division and the South Atlantic Division had an acceleration in growth in 2019.  Noticeably, the West North Central Division grew by 7% in 2019, following a negative growth rate (-14%) in 2018. Meanwhile, seven out of the nine divisions, including West South Central, Mountain, East North Central, Pacific, Middle Atlantic, East South Central and New England, experienced a deceleration in growth in 2019. Among them, the New England Division experienced the largest deceleration with a decline of 15% in 2019.



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