According to NAHB analysis of the Survey of Construction (SOC), new single-family starts expanded at a fast pace in 2021. Nationally, 1,133,145 new single-family units were started in 2021, 14% higher than the units started in 2020. It marked the fastest growth rate since 2013 and the highest count of starts since the Great Recession.
Among all the nine Census divisions, the South Atlantic, West South Central and Mountain Divisions led the way with the most new single-family units started in 2021. These three divisions represent 20 states and Washington, D.C., approximately 41% of United States, while the number of new single-family housing starts in these three divisions accounted for more than two thirds of the total new single-family housing starts in 2021.
In addition, single-family units started in the Pacific Division increased to 106,240 in 2021, exceeding 100,000 for the second straight year since the 2008 recession. There were 93,693 new single-family units started in the East North Central Division in 2021. While the Pacific Division accounted for 9% of the total new single-family housing starts, 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 16% of the total new single-family housing starts.
In 2021, four out of the nine divisions grew faster than the national level of 14%. The Middle Atlantic Division led the way with a 26% increase, followed by the East South Central Division with a 23% increase and the West South Central Division with a 19% increase. The growth rates of the other five divisions were close to or below the national level.
Compared to last year, five out of the nine divisions, including Middle Atlantic, East South Central, West South Central, South Atlantic, and West North Central, had an acceleration in 2021. Meanwhile, the Mountain, East North Central, Pacific, and New England Divisions experienced a deceleration in growth in 2021. Noticeably, the Middle Atlantic Division grew by 26% in 2021, following a decrease of 9% in 2020.
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