Curve

Confidence in new home construction: building starts and completion up

Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor

Optimism abounds 

Next year’s home buyers have reason to be optimistic. Not only did last month see the most housing starts all year, but builder confidence is way up. And this trend could continue through 2018. More new home construction could improve the housing shortage for buyers.

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Housing hits new heights

According to the latest Residential Construction report from the U.S. Census Bureau, housing starts in October were up a whopping 13.7 percent over September. That’s 1.29 million new houses.

Single-family housing starts, in particular, jumped by 5.3 percent. That’s another 40,000 for the month.

On a regional level, the South, Midwest and Northeast all saw strong gains in housing starts in October, according to Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors.

“The South region is quickly getting back on its feet with a big jump in new housing starts, after a pause in the prior month from the aftermath of the hurricanes,” Yun said.

“The Midwest and the Northeast regions also made gains. Only the West region, the very region that is most in need of new supply, experienced fewer housing starts.”

According to Yun, the West could see slowing job growth as the lack of supply drives up home prices.  Nationally, Yun says the uptick in housing starts will likely boost home sales in the coming months.

“Overall, the total activity for the country is moving in the right path,” Yun said. “More supply will boost future home sales.”

The Census Bureau’s report also shows housing completions up for the month of October. They were 15.5 percent higher than October 2016, and 12.6 percent above September.

Builder confidence gets boost

As starts and completions continue to climb, it’s no surprise that America’s home builders are getting more confident. According to the National Association of Home Builders, builder confidence hit an eight-month high in November.

“Demand for single-family housing is increasing at a consistent pace, driven by job and economic growth, rising homeownership rates and limited housing inventory,” NAHB’s Chief Economist Robert Dietz reported.

“With these economic fundamentals in place, we should see continued upward movement of the single-family housing market as we close out 2017.”

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