US housing market

Photo: Bill Ward/Flickr

US home builders are ramping up residential construction with the Department of Housing and Urban Development reporting housing starts well above the million dollar mark for June.

According to the numbers released Friday, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of privately-owned housing starts reached 1,174,000 last month, a 9.8 percent surge above the revised May estimate of 1,069,000. Compared to the same time last year, housing starts were up an impressive 26.6 percent.

The Northeast outperformed other regional markets in June. Starts were up 35.5 percent from May and 112.4 percent over June 2014. Building activity tended to increase elsewhere albeit at slightly more subdued level. In the South, starts rose 13.5 percent month-to-month and 42.8 percent year-over-year. In the West, housing starts fell by 6 percent on a monthly basis, but still managed to rise by 9.6 percent compared to June 2014.

The Midwest was somewhat of an outlier. It saw starts drop 0.7 percent from May and 27.5 percent from June of last year.

Construction intentions across the country also increased. There were 1,343,000 authorized building permits for privately-owned housing units in June, a monthly increase of 7.4 percent and a year-over-year surge of 30 percent.

As for completions, the numbers were slightly more mixed. Housing completions reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 972,000 last month. The tally was 6.7 percent below completions in May, however, the numbers still represented a 22 percent increase over June 2014.

The numbers reflect the positive outlook recently expressed by US home builders. The housing data was published just a day after the National Home Builders Association (NHBA) released its monthly survey of builder confidence. The measure, known as the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) put the confidence level in the market for newly built, single-family homes up at its highest point in nearly a decade.

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