Housing starts nationwide jumped 9.7 percent in January over December, thanks largely to a 19.7 percent increase in residential rental and condominium starts — the biggest increase since December 2016.
The annual pace of starts nationwide last month was 1.33 million, up from 1.21 million in December and up from 1.24 million last January, according to the Department of Commerce. January’s increase followed December’s sharp drop of 8.2 percent to an annual rate of 1.19 million starts, the largest since November 2016. Single-family construction was up 3.7 percent nationwide.
Construction was up in all corners of the country but the Midwest, where it dropped 10.2 percent. The Northeast was the strongest market, rising 45.5 percent. That’s an increase four times higher than in the West, which saw the next highest increase. The South was up 9.3 percent. In November, both the South and West recorded their highest monthly rates since July 2007.
Building permits rose 7.4 percent in January, which means there’s good indication homebuilding will continue to be healthy in the near future.
Home prices remain strong thanks to low supply. Prices rose 6.2 percent between November 2016 and November 2017, according to Standard and Poor’s CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index. Seattle, Las Vegas, and San Francisco led the 20-city index in percentage increases.