Housing starts fade as permits climb

Single-family permits rose 6.8% in January.
a person standing on top of a wooden ramp

The pace of residential construction slipped in January, as housing starts declined to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.638 million.

This is 4.1% below the upwardly revised December estimate of 1.708,000 million, according to the latest Monthly Residential Construction Report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Compared to the same period a year ago, total starts increased 0.8%.

Single-family housing starts in January slumped 5.6% to a pace of 1,116,000 in comparison to the revised December rate of 1.182 million. Multifamily starts, including apartment buildings and condos, decreased 0.8% to an annualized 522,000 pace.

Total residential permits climbed 0.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.899 million from the revised December rate of 1,885. The latest figure is also 0.8% above the January 2021 rate of 1,883,000. 

Single‐family permits for January rose 6.8% to 1.205 million from the revised December rate of 1.128 million. 


Here's how starts and permits performed on a regional basis in January compared to the prior month:

  • In the Northeast, total starts increased 2.6% as single-family starts plummeted 25.8%. Total permits were slashed by 48.3% as single-family permits saw a 14.5% drop.
  • In the Midwest, total starts fell 37.7% with single-family permits dropping by 28.7%. Overal permits dipped 0.7% as single-family permits rose 3.9%. 
  • In the South, total starts slipped 2% and single-family starts were down 4.7%. Permits in the South ascended 11.4% and single-family permits increased 4.2%.
  • In the West, total starts jumped 17.7% and single-family starts performed strongly, rising 15.7%. Combined permits in the West were up 13.9% and single-family permits saw sizeable gains, rising 23.3%. 

Today's report follows the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released yesterday, which saw builder confidence decline for a second straight month.

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