Steel Markets

Single Family Housing Starts Make Gains in February

Written by Sandy Williams

Housing starts in February jumped 3 percent from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,288,000. Single family starts gained 6.5 percent to a rate of 872,000 for its highest level in nearly ten years. Housing starts for buildings of five units or more were down 7.7 percent to 396,000.

Regionally single family starts increased the most in the West, gaining 35.7 percent. The Northeast, Midwest, and South all saw declines in total housing starts but made gains for starts of single family housing in the Northeast and Midwest.

Permit authorizations, an indicator of future construction, were down 6.2 percent from January’s rate to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,213,000. Single family authorizations gained 3.1 percent from January for a rate of 832,000. Authorizations for housing with five units or more fell 26.9 percent from January.

Overall permit authorizations were down 22.3 percent in the Northeast and approximately 10 percent in the South and West. The Midwest gained 25.4 percent from the previous month.

“This month’s gain in single-family starts is consistent with rising builder confidence in the housing market,” said Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). “We should see single-family production continue to grow throughout the year, tempered somewhat by supply-side constraints such as access to lots and labor.”

“The growth in the single-family arena is very encouraging, but may be partly attributable to unusually warm weather conditions throughout most of the country,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “The modest drop in multifamily starts is in line with our forecast, which calls for this sector to continue to stabilize in 2017.”

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