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New residential construction is up from October

Privately-owned housing starts in November 2018 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,256,000. This is a 3.2 percent increase above the revised October 2018 estimate of 1,217,000.

The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly made the announcement following the release of new residential construction statistics for November 2018.

Privately‐owned housing units authorized by building permits in November were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,328,000. This is 5.0 percent above the revised October rate of 1,265,000 and is 0.4 percent above the November 2017 rate of 1,323,000. Single‐family authorizations in November were at a rate of 848,000; this is 0.1 percent above the revised October figure of 847,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 441,000 in November.

There was some evidence of a slowdown at least in the rate of growth. Single‐family housing completions in November were at a rate of 772,000; this is 5.4 percent below the revised October rate of 816,000. The November rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 314,000.

At the height of the building boom in 2005 there were 2,068,000 new housing starts. That was surpassed only by 1972 at 2,352,000. The Census Bureau has been keeping this statistic since 1959. New housing starts dropped to just 554,000 in the depths of the Great Recession in 2009. 2009 was the lowest number recorded in the 60 years that this statistic has been kept. New single family housing set an all time low in 2011 at just 431,000 starts. The turnaround started in 2012 when new housing starts grew to 781,000. That was followed by 925,000 in 2013, 1,003,000 in 2014, 1,112,000 in 2015, 1,174,000 in 2016, and 1,203,000 in 2017. The adjusted 2018 rate of 1,256,000 would be the best year for new housing starts since 2007 when 1,355,000 new homes were started.

Of the 1,203,000 new housing starts in 2017, 599,000 (49.8 percent) were in the South. 453,000 (52.7 percent) of the 859,000 new single family housing starts in 2017 were in the South.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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