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National   /   January 25, 2021

Paul Bubny
By: Paul Bubny

Housing Starts Rise Overall as Multifamily Construction Ebbs

U.S. homebuilding surged in December to its highest rate in more than 14 years, according to Commerce Department figures. However, the gains occurred solely in single-family as multifamily starts dropped 13.6% compared to the previous month.

Total housing starts for all of 2020 were 1.38 million, a 7% gain over the 1.29-million total from 2019. Single-family starts were up 11.7% year over year. Multifamily starts for 2020 were down 3.3% from 2019, and the sector saw a comparable Y-O-Y decline in permits.

December’s annualized pace of 1.34 million single-family starts represents “the highest since September 2006,” said Robert Dietz, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders. “And while NAHB is forecasting further production increases in 2021, the gains will be tempered by ongoing supply-side challenges related to material costs and delivery times, a dearth of buildable lots and regional labor shortages that continue to exacerbate affordability woes.”

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Paul Bubny serves as Senior Content Director for Connect Commercial Real Estate, a role to which he brings 13-plus years’ experience covering the commercial real estate industry and 30-plus years in business-to-business journalism.
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