Total housing starts declined 1.4% month-over-month in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.382 million units (Briefing.com consensus 1.355 million)
Total building permits declined 1.6% month-over-month to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.330 million (consensus 1.370 million).
The key takeaway from the report is that new single-family starts increased by 11.3% month-over-month even though total starts recorded a month-over-month decrease. This element lends some optimism regarding a sector that has been pressured by rising rates and decreasing affordability. That said, building permits, which have a leading indicator status, decreased for the third consecutive month.
The change in single-unit starts by region: Northeast (+96.9%); Midwest (-4.2%); South (+4.4%); and West (+6.7%).
The change in single-unit permits by region: Northeast (-5.9%); Midwest (0.0%); South (-3.4%); and West (-10.3%).
Multi-unit starts were down 18.9% month-over-month and multi-unit permits were down 3.4% month-over-month.
The number of units under construction at the end of the period was up 0.6% month-over-month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.712 million.