According to a joint release from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Housing Starts rose 3.6% in October 2012, climbing to a seasonally-adjusted, annualized rate of 894,000 units.
Regionally, Housing Starts varied.
The West and Midwest Regions posted gains between September and October 2012; and, the South and Northeast Regions posted declines. The latter was affected by the effects of Hurricane Sandy.
- West Region : +17.2% from the month prior
- Midwest Region : +8.9% from the month prior
- South Region : -2.5% from the month prior
- Northeast Region : -6.5% from the month prior
Single-family housing starts — starts for homes not considered multi-unit properties or to be apartment buildings — was mostly unchanged, slipping 1,000 units on a seasonally-adjusted annualized basis.
The Housing Starts data is the third housing-related release this week that hints at a strong start for the 2013 housing market.
Early in the week, the National Association of Homebuilders released its Housing Market Index (HMI), a measure of home builder confidence in the new construction market. The HMI posted 46 — the highest reading since 2006. With mortgage rates low and buyer traffic high, builders are expecting a rash of sales between now and the New Year, and an elevated number of closing over the next six months, in general.
The HMI is scored on a scale of 1-100. One year ago, it read 19.
Then, the National Association of REALTORS® showed Existing Home Sales climbing 2.1% and home supply fell to a multi-year low. At the current sales pace, the entire U.S. home inventory would be sold in just 5.4 months. Analysts believe that a home supply of less than 6.0 months favors home sellers.
In unison, these three housing market reports suggest a sustained, national housing market recovery. Home prices are expected to rise into next year’s housing market.