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Construction in November surged, according to the Commerce Department.

The Breakdown
Housing Starts: 1.37 million

  • +3.2% month-over-month
  • +13.6% year-over-year
  • Multifamily Starts: 404,000
  • Single-Family Starts: 938,000

Building Permits: 1.48 million

  • +1.4% month-over-month
  • +11.1% year-over-year
  • Multifamily Permits: 524,000
  • Single-Family Permits: 918,000

Completions: 1.19 million

  • -6.6% month-over-month
  • +7.3% year-over-year
  • Multifamily Completions: 295,000
  • Single-Family Completions: 883,000

What the Industry’s Saying

“November’s strong monthly and annual gains indicate that potential homebuyers next year will have more properties to choose from…The continued increase in permits indicates that the pace of construction should stay strong in early 2020. The solid permits reading is confirmed by the incredibly strong read on builder sentiment, which came in yesterday at the strongest level since June 1999.” – Mike Fratantoni, Chief Economist, Mortgage Bankers Association

“Since the rebound in housing took hold earlier this year, single-family starts have posted a steady improvement in the pace of construction. Under the current estimates, the 2019 year-to-date total for single-family construction is just 0.4 percent lower than the 2018 sum and is on pace to come in relatively flat for the year.” – Robert Dietz, Chief Economist, National Association of Home Builders

“The latest housing starts numbers are good and rising, but still short by 135,000 compared to the long-term average—and well short of the 5-6 million that is now needed to fully end the housing shortage. More home construction appears to be on the way as we move into 2020, as reflected in the very high confidence of home builders. They are clearly recognizing an improved business opportunity. Some innovation in the industry is required as construction workers are hard to obtain in the current tight job market conditions. Modular factory-produced aspects need to be considered more intently to boost productivity. Overall, more construction will mean more housing inventory to choose from for consumers. Home sales can then easily rise while taming the fast growth in home prices.” – Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist, National Association of REALTORS®

“An exceptionally strong finishing kick in 2019 has the home construction industry well-positioned to enter the 2020s on solid footing…A key reading of home builder confidence currently sits at a two-decade high, driven up by a belief that pent-up housing demand will outweigh supply-side constraints. Make no mistake, many of those constraints remain, including scarce land and labor which have limited the industry’s output for the entire year. But growth in starts and a full pipeline of permitted projects to come clearly show that builders are finding creative ways to address these challenges and deliver the new homes the market so clearly needs.” – Matthew Speakman, Economist, Zillow

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