According to the latest numbers crunched by the Washington-based National Association of Home Builders, both multi-family and single-family construction were significantly up for most of 2018.
For the entire 12-month period, multi-family construction showed a 5.5 percent gain, representing nearly 374,000 new housing units.
During those same months, single-family construction, with just under 873,000 new housing units, was up by 2.8 percent.
But troubling statistics for the industry did not show up until December, which saw overall housing starting off by 11.2 percent. In that category, multi-family starts dropped by 20 percent, while single-family construction was off 6.7 percent decline.
Those end of 2018 numbers are fueling less than robust predictions for the housing construction market this year: “We expect single-family production will be relatively flat in 2019 and multi-family starts will level off as well,” said NAHB chief economist Robert Dietz in a statement.
Dietz additionally predicted that the great challenge confronting homebuilders this year will not be just responding to the ongoing massive housing affordability issue, but trying to find available lots for such construction and wading through what he describes as excessive regulatory processing.
Despite the disappointing December numbers, the latest NAHB statistics show that new housing building permits were up by just over 17 percent in both the West and Midwest, followed by a smaller 2 percent increase in the South.
Only in the Northeast, with a 6 percent drop, was there an actual decline in such permits.
By Garry Boulard
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