It didn’t approach the levels of the “good old days” of 2020 and 2021, but construction activity did show signs of life last month. The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development reported that both housing permit activity and residential construction starts rose sharply in February after a fairly lackluster performance in January. As in January, however, credit was largely due to multifamily construction. Permits for residential housing units were issued at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.524 million units in February compared to 1.339 million in January. This was an increase of 13.8 percent. The figure, however, remains 17.9 percent lower than the February 2022 rate of 1.857 million units. The rate of permitting for single-family houses rose 7.6 percent to 777,000 units while multifamily permits were 24.3 percent higher at 560,000 units. Single-family permits were down 35.5 percent year-over-year, but the multifamily rate gained 16.9 percent on an annual basis. Prior to adjustment, the report puts the number of permits issued in February at 109,500 of which 58,200 were for single-family houses. The respective January numbers were 101,000 and 53,100. Permitting rose in three of the four major regions in February. The Midwest’s rate increased 9.6 percent, the South’s rose 10.9 percent, and permitting shot up 30 percent in the West. The Northeast was the outlier with a 2.8 percent decline. All regions performed well below their February 2022 levels, with deficits ranging from 11.4 percent in the South to 42.5 percent in the Northeast.
Source: Mortgage News Daily