Housing starts jumped 19.4% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.74 million units, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. Compared with March 2020, the rate is up 37.0%.
It is the fastest pace for combined single-family and multifamily construction recorded since June 2006, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
"Demand remains solid due to low mortgage interest rates and a thin level of inventory in the resale market, which is spurring the need for additional supply," stated NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. "The test for the industry this year will be balancing growth and higher construction costs, given ongoing housing affordability challenges."
Regionally, compared with February, housing starts increased 64.0% in the Northeast, 122.8% in the Midwest, 13.5% in the South and declined 13.6% in the West.
Overall housing permits increased 2.7% to 1.77 million (up 30.2% compared with March 2020). Housing completions increased 16.6% compared with February to a rate of 1.58 million, 23.4% above the March 2020 rate.