Multifamily production at two-year high
March 18, 2022 | 10:09 am CDT

Multifamily housing is characterized by multiple units in a single building or connected by shared walls. Home for All SMC works to create housing for a diversified community.

Photo By Home for All SMC (San Mateo County)

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Despite production bottlenecks and rising construction costs, total housing starts led by strong multifamily numbers posted a solid gain in February. Demand stayed strong and existing inventory remained at low levels, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

Overall housing starts increased 6.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.77 million units, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. This is 22.3% above the rate posted a year earlier, according to the NAHB.

The February reading of 1.77 million starts is the number of housing units builders would begin if development kept this pace for the next 12 months. Within this single-family starts increased 5.7% to a 1.22 million seasonally adjusted annual rate within this overall number family sector, which includes apartment buildings and condos, increased 9.3% to an annualized 554,000 pace.

“Builders continue to start homes as the demand for new construction remains solid in a market lacking inventory of previously owned homes,” said Jerry Konter, chairman of the NAHB, and a home builder and developer from Savannah, Ga. “However, construction costs are rising too quickly, which threatens housing affordability conditions in 2022 as interest rates rise.”

“The February pace for apartment construction was the best since January 2020 and we expect the multifamily sector to continue to show strength as the economy reopens,” said NAHB chief economist Robert Dietz. “On the single-family front, the count of homes permitted, but not started construction, reached a four-month high in February, rising to 152,000. This is an indication of the ongoing supply-chain delays and cost issues that are limiting the pace of home building in many markets.”

On a regional basis compared to the previous month, combined single-family and multifamily starts are 28.7% higher in the Northeast, 15.3 % higher in the Midwest, 11.4% higher in the South and 11.4 % lower in the West.

Overall permits decreased 1.9% to a 1.86 million unit annualized rate in February. Single-family permits remained essentially flat, falling 0.5% to a 1.21 million unit rate. Multifamily permits decreased 4.4% to an annualized 652,000 pace.

Compared to the previous month, regional permit data shows that permits are 22.7% higher in the Northeast, 8.4% lower in the Midwest, 5.5 % lower in the South, and 2.1% higher in the West.

There are now 799,000 single-family homes under construction, a 28.3% year-over-year gain.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Profile picture for user larryadams
About the author
Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).