WASHINGTON — Housing starts in the United States rose by 6.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 760,000 units in June, according to newly released figures from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and U.S. Census Bureau. This is the fastest pace of new home construction since October 2008.

“This good report is in keeping with the results of our latest builder confidence survey, in which many of our members said that they are seeing an influx of more serious buyers to the new-homes market this summer,” said Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). “What’s especially encouraging is that, as consumers realize the advantages of purchasing a newly built home while prices and interest rates are so favorable, builders are able to put more crews back to work on construction sites across the country. This in turn is helping spur local economic growth, and policymakers need to be very careful to not take any steps that would derail the beginnings of such a positive trend at this crucial time.”

“This is one more piece of evidence that housing is starting to take back its traditional role of leading the nation out of recession, and tracks with our forecast for continued improvement in new construction through the end of this year,” said David Crowe, NAHB chief economist.

Single-family housing starts rose for a fourth consecutive month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 539,000 units in June, the fastest pace since April 2010, said NAHB. Multifamily starts rose 12.8 percent to 221,000 units.

Regionally for the month of June, combined single and multifamily housing starts rose 22.2 percent in the Northeast and 36.9 percent in the West, but decreased 7.3 percent in the Midwest and 4.2 percent in the South. However, NAHB said the declines were due to monthly volatility on the multifamily side, as single-family starts posted gains in every region in June.

New building permit issuance, which can be an indicator of future building activity, fell 3.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 755,000 units in June following a large increase in the previous month. While single-family housing permits posted a small 0.6 percent gain to 493,000 units, multifamily permits dropped 10.9 percent to 262,000 units from an above-trend pace in the previous month.

On a regional basis in June, permit issuance rose 2.9 percent in the West and held unchanged in the Northeast, but retreated 0.8 percent in the Midwest and 8 percent in the South.

Publication date: 7/16/2012