Housing starts: The 2013 review

Residential construction statistics released Friday morning showed housing starts in December dipped back below the million mark. But that slight backstep didn't prevent the year from producing a double-digit increase.

The following graphics tell the story of a housing industry still struggling to regain a semblance of normality (which would be approximately 1.5 million starts per year), while showing signs of momentum.

 

The chart above shows the end-of-year annual housing starts figures since 2000. These are the actual numbers of single- and multi-family housing units started -- not the seasonally adjusted annual rate. In 2013, starts totaled 923,400, an 18.3% improvement over 2012. Still, the industry is dwarfed by the 2005 total of 2.1 million. 

 

 

The chart above shows the recent three months of housing starts compared with year-ago periods and expressed as a seasonally adjusted annual rate. December's tally was ahead of last year, but down from a 1.11 million rate tallied in November. 

 

The chart above shows the year 2013 in review -- single-family starts and total starts peaked in November. While December showed a decline in single-family starts, it also marked the second-strongest performance in this metric for the year.