Housing Starts Regain Some Ground in November
Nationwide housing production rose 8.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 574,000 units in November, according to figures released by the U.S. Commerce Department on Dec. 16. The gain was a partial bounce-back from an exceptionally slow month for housing activity in October, and was largely attributed to a big increase in the multifamily sector.
"The fact that both starts and permits for new housing production rose last month is a good sign that we're headed in the right direction, albeit slowly, on the road to a housing recovery," said NAHB Chairman Joe Robson. "That said, the November improvement was primarily on the multifamily side, and poor job markets and other economic factors are still keeping many potential buyers on the fence for the time being."
"Home builders remain very cautious about starting new homes, and overall housing production is still down on a three-month average basis," noted NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "Understandably, it will take some time for the newly extended and expanded home buyer tax credit to start boosting sales in individual markets — just as it did the last time such an incentive was enacted,” he said.
“However,” Crowe added, “the fact that permits increased in November is a hopeful indication that the desired impact of the tax credit on housing demand may be forthcoming early in 2010. In the meantime, credit for new housing production remains extremely difficult to come by, posing significant obstacles to builders with viable projects."
Making up for some of the ground they lost during the preceding month, single-family housing starts posted a modest 2.1% gain in November, rising to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 482,000 units. Meanwhile, multifamily starts rebounded from an all-time record low in the previous month with a 67.3% gain to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 92,000 units in November.
Gains in housing production were registered across all regions of the country in November, with increases of 16.4% in the Northeast, 3% in the Midwest, 12.3% in the South and nearly 2% in the West.
Permit issuance, which can be an indicator of future building activity, rose 6% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 584,000 units, its highest level in a year. Single-family permits climbed 5.3% to 473,000 units, while multifamily permits rose 8.8% to 111,000 units.
Three out of four regions posted gains in housing permits for November, with increases of 4.7% in the Northeast, 10.7% in the South and 2.7% in the West. Permits declined 1.9% in the Midwest.
Web Site Is One-Stop Shop for Tax Credit Info
Builders and other industry professionals can help spur home sales by referring prospective home buyers to www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com. The NAHB Web site provides detailed information on both the extended $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit and the new $6,500 repeat buyer tax credit recently signed into law by President Obama.
Consumers can use the Web site to find information on both tax credits — including frequently asked questions and links to social media sites that provide updated information as it becomes available. It also includes a number of home-buying resources for consumers.
Industry professionals are encouraged to highlight the tax credit Web site when marketing to their potential home buyer market.
Webcast of Fall Construction Forecast Conference Now Available
An on-demand webcast of the 2009 Fall Construction Forecast Conference held at the National Housing Center in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 21 is now available for purchase.
The webcast fee includes access to the webcast archive and electronic copies of the conference handout and presentation materials. Multiple viewers in one office can purchase the webcast for one fee.
The on-demand webcast also gives viewers complete flexibility in their viewing experience — pause, skip forward and backward, or jump directly to your topics of interest. The webcast is available for $250.
To view the webcast schedule, topics of discussion and a list of the presenters, click here.
To purchase and download the webcast, click here.
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