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January Housing Starts Reach Highest Level in Three Years

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The Commerce Department today announced a 1.5 percent increase in housing starts to 699,000 units from December.

How the upswing breaks down:

  • Starts of multi-unit buildings increased 8.5 percent last month
  • New construction on buildings of 5+ units was up 14.4 percent. Making this – usually rental – category the driver of overall growth
  • Groundbreaking on single-family units fell 1 percent
  • Indicators of future construction, building permits, rose 0.7 percent


“The January surge in housing starts is primarily attributed to the booming apartment sector,” said Steve Sanders, co-founder and president of “But builders of single-family homes should not be dismayed by the 1% decline from December. The December 2011 starts were a 12% increase over November, and that is after several months of steadily increasing numbers beginning at the end of the summer. In fact, January’s starts are still an 11% increase over November 2011 and 16% over January 2011, signs of a positive trend overall.”

Builder optimism, increased interest in home buying and January start numbers are positive indicators for a housing market that continues to strive for recovery.

More details on the numbers from NAHB.

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