Last Thursday it was good to see that Housing Starts picked up for November, rising 3.9% for the month to an annual rate of 555,000 units. This beat expectations and was especially gratifying because all the gain came from a 6.9% increase in single-family starts. These have now been up three out of the last four months.
Multi-family starts were down for the fourth month in a row, but these are very volatile on a monthly basis. In fact, the 12-month moving average for multi-family starts is still trending higher, up 5.9% compared to a year ago. The demand for multi-unit residences should continue to grow, which is why some observers foresee a large rebound in multi-unit construction in the new few months. Although there are still excess housing inventories, they are falling quickly and experts expect them to drop further, even with a home building recovery.