Housing Starts Continued to Slide in December

Single Family Starts Bounce Back, but Drop in Permits Points to Weakness Ahead

Source: Economics Group of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.Summary Permits Decline for Third Straight Month

  • Total housing starts fell 1.4% to a 1.330 million-unit pace in December, a more mild drop than the market consensus. December’s upside surprise comes off of a downward revision to November starts which indicates that starts declined by a sharper 1.8% during the month.
  • In December, single-family construction and multifamily construction moved in opposite directions. While single-family starts surprised with an 11.3% increase, multifamily starts fell 19.0%.
  • The unexpected monthly gain in single-family starts can likely be owed to unseasonably warm weather and improved building material availability, factors which allowed more projects to get underway during the month.