Housing starts closed out 2020 at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.67 million in December, a growth of 5.8% compared with November, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. Year-over-year, December housing starts increased 5.2%.
The growth was due to a 12.0% surge in single family housing starts, which reached a pace of 1.34 million. The multifamily housing sector, including apartment buildings and condos, fell 13.6% in December.
Robert Dietz of the National Association of Home Builders noted that the single family housing starts pace in December was the highest since September 2006.
"And while NAHB is forecasting further production increases in 2021, the gains will be tempered by ongoing supply-side challenges related to material costs and delivery times, a dearth of buildable lots and regional labor shortages that continue to exacerbate affordability woes,” Dietz said in a statement.
Building permits grew 4.5% from November to a rate of 1.7 million, a 17.3% surge compared with December 2019.
Regionally, year-over-year housing starts fell 24.1% in the Northeast and increased 5.5% in the Midwest, 7.8% in the South and 10.0% in the West.