Builders Gain Hope After Housing Starts Rebound in January

Housing starts rebounded significantly in January by nearly 19%—welcome news to builders following the 12% decline at the end of 2018. According to the U.S. Housing and Urban Development and Commerce Department, builders would begin more than 1.2 million housing units in the next year if they maintained this soaring percentage.

Single-family housing starts were the most improved in January, climbing just over 25% to 926,000 units. Multifamily housing also increased, albeit less so, by 2.4% to 304,000 units. The Northeast experienced the largest number of overall housing starts at 58.5%, with additional gains in the West and South.

In an article by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde said a dip in mortgage rates fueled the gain in housing starts, therefore, creating increased builder confidence.

"Some single-family projects that were on pause in December, meaning they were authorized but not started, went online in January," NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz said in the report. "However, builders remain cautious as single-family permit numbers in January were somewhat soft."

The article reported a decline in single-family permits by roughly 2%; however, multifamily permits jumped more than 7%.

—Andrew Michaels, editorial associate

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