As we pointed out last month, the November jump in U.S. housing starts was driven by multi-family housing and demand for rentals.
In December, overall housing starts dropped 4.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted rate but remained 24.9 percent above the rate recorded in December 2010 while single-family starts ticked up 4.4 percent from November, up 11.6 percent year-over-year.
Seasonally adjusted permit activity to start construction was up 7.8 percent on a year over year basis in December, once again driven by demand for multi-family housing with permits for buildings with five or more units increasing 30.6 percent versus a 0.2 percent drop for single-family homes.
Without adjustments for seasonality, preliminary numbers peg overall housing starts up 3.4 percent from 2010 to 2011, down 9.0 percent for single-family homes. Overall permit activity ticked up 1.2 percent from 2010, down 7.5 percent for single-family homes.
In the west, total starts were up 11.0 percent from 2010 to 2011, down 7.1 percent for single-family homes while permit activity was up 3.6 percent, down 7.2 percent for single-family homes.
Housing Starts Up Driven By Demand For Rentals [SocketSite]
New Residential Construction: December 2011 []

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