The U.S. Commerce Department just announced that privately owned residential housing starts fell nationwide in January by 8.5 percent from December’s estimate.
Despite the decrease, starts were still 23.6 percent higher than the rate in January 2012. Single-family starts were up by 0.8 percent month-over-month.
Permits for all privately owned units rose by 1.8 percent in January and had a year-over-year increase of 35.2 percent.
Completions were also up (6.0 percent) since December and had a substantial increase since January 2012 (33.6 percent).
Yesterday, the National Association of Home Builders released its NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) data for January. NAHB Chairman Rick Judson commented on the new results:
“Following solid gains over the past year, builder confidence has essentially leveled out and held in the same three-point range over the last four months… partly due to ongoing uncertainties about job growth and consumer access to mortgage credit, but it’s also a reflection of the fact that builders are now confronting rising costs for building materials and, in some markets, limited availability of labor and lots as demand for new homes strengthens.”
The HMI measures current sales, builder expectations about sales in the next six months and prospective buyer traffic. Current sales fell by one point, builder expectations rose by a point, and consumer traffic fell by four points.