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Multifamily starts hit 6-year high in West region of US

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Housing starts in the West Census region of the US, which includes Colorado, were up 51.9 percent from July 2011 to July 2012, counting both single-family and multi-family units. According to new housing construction and housing starts data released today by the US Census Bureau, multifamily housing starts in the U.S. West region hit a six-year high and there were approximately 19,300 housing units of all types started in the West during July 2012. Of the new units started, 11,500 were single-family structures and 7,800 were structures containing more than one housing unit.

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Nationally, housing starts rose 24.4 percent during the same period, with total housing starts rising to a total of 71,700.

Total housing starts remain well below peak levels both nationally and in the West. July 2012 housing starts in the West were 64 percent below the peak reached during May 2004. Nationally, July 2012 was 63 percent below peak levels. The national peak in housing starts was reached during May 2005.

Multifamily starts have rebounded more than single-family starts. In the West, single-family starts are 75 percent below peak levels while multifamily starts are only 22 percent below peak levels. The single-family housing starts for the West region during July were at the highest point reached since January 2008.

The West census region includes states on the west coast and within the Rocky Mountain region.
The first graph shows that starts totals are beginning to come out of the very-low level trend that has been in place since 2009. Multifamily totals are up near pre-recession peaks.

The second graph shows month-by-month comparisons in housing starts for each year in the West. July's housing starts total was down 4 percent from June but were at a 5-year high. That is, July 2012 was the biggest July for total starts since 2007.

July 2012's multifamily starts were at the highest July total seen in six years There were 7,800 multifamily starts during July 2012 which is the highest July total since July 2006.

Single-family starts continue to show signs of very slow improvement while multifamily starts are accelerating. This mirrors recent permit activity in Colorado where new multifamily permits are up almost 200 percent so far this year compared to last year.

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