Privately-owned housing starts in May were up 28.5 percent from last year, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
In addition, building permits increased by both monthly and yearly measures, and completions posted strong year-over-year gains.
The specific data breakdown was:
- Permits for privately-owned units were 7.9 percent above April and 25.0 percent above May 2011, and single-family permits were 4.0 percent above April.
- Housing starts were 4.8 percent below April’s rate, but along with the strong yearly increases, single-family starts posted 3.2 percent gains over April.
- Completions has a similar breakdown, with a 10.3 percent decline from April but a 10.1 percent increase from May 2011. Single-family completions, though, were 6.3 percent down from April.
Linda Marshall, the broker/owner of Linda Marshall Realtors, deals extensively with new construction in Houston’s Inner Loop, and she said in recently the Houston market has experienced “an acceleration” of sales activity, one that has put the market at a unique disadvantage.
During the downturn, Marshall said that builders scaled back their construction efforts, as first-time homebuyers (or “Zillow buyers,” as she calls them, because of their propensity for new tech and data) were unable to secure financing for the townhouses and patio homes that were being constructed.
But now, the market’s pent-up demand has been unleashed, and first-time buyers (along with more experienced buyers looking to capitalize on the low interest rates) are buying with such fervor that there is an inventory shortage, one Marshall anticipates will continue until builders catch up in March 2013.