The U.S. Census Bureau released residential construction data for the month of December and the results provide further – and perhaps more convincing – proof that the housing market is showing consistent signs of improvement. Some analysts even call this a housing rebound as overall residential construction starts increased to 954,000 units or 12.1% over the revised November rate of 851,000 units.
There’s even more good news in this report that lends credibility to the housing rebound…
The overall starts figure was also 36.9% over December 2011’s rate of 697,000 and economic recovery doubters are starting to moderate their positions as the housing data seems to continue to improve. However, pessimists can point to a moderating increase in the number of building permits issued which grew in December by less than 1% or within the margin of error.
For the consumer electronics industry, we’ve always advocated looking at the single-family housing starts numbers as they tend to be more influential as an indicator of household formation that drives sales of home electroncis products. Here too, the data is positive.
Single-family stats show gains as well…
Construction starts on single-family houses in December came in at 616,000 units (all figures are on a seasonally-adjusted annual rate or SAAR) which was 8.1% over the November rate of 570,000 units and 18.5% over the year earlier reading of 520,000 units.
And for the first time in a very long time, all of the December results on a regional basis for both overall and single-family starts increased over the November rates. With one exception (single-family starts in the Midwest region), this fact holds true with a comparison with December 2011 regional data as well.
So 2012’s (almost) final results look good…
So for the year of 2012, the final construction starts are estimated to be 780,000 units. If this rate holds after the usual revisions, that means that starts last year will have increased 28.1% over the final rate of 608,800 in 2011.
There is still a long way to go to reach a “normal” rate, but clearly the numbers seem to be moving in the right direction.