Housing Starts

 Housing starts are beginning to pick up modest momentum. While some of the recent improvement is likely due to milder-than-usual weather, we are seeing some genuine progress. Much of the improvement is still coming from a low base, and due to structural challenges, any recovery will be slow. That said, housing starts have risen in two of the past three months with much of the gain in multifamily. On a year-ago basis, multifamily starts are up nearly 90 percent and single family has increased 3.8 percent. Permits, which are forward looking, are also showing a glimmer of hope. Single-family permits are up 6.2 percent over the past year and have increased in each of the past four months. Multifamily permits are up 55 percent year over year. We expect the trend to persist as homebuyer traffic has picked up at a consistent clip over the past few months and the gap between the price of a new home and existing, while still elevated, is beginning to narrow.