Multifamily Housing Starts Unexpectedly Surge

According to CNNMoney.com: February’s 22% overall housing increase was driven by a nearly 80% increase in construction of multi-family homes. New construction of buildings with 5 or more units increased nearly 80% to 212,000 from 118,000 in January.

Applications for building permits, considered a reliable sign of future construction activity, rose 3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 547,000 last month. Economists were expecting permits to fall to 500,000…read the full multifamily housing starts unexpectedly surge story.

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From a recent article on Builder.com:

11. Nashville, Tennessee
2008 total building permits: 8,142

Nashville, the 20th largest home building market in the US, operated under the radar of the national housing boom. It didn’t ramp up wildly during the boom years, and it’s not contracting viciously during the bust. Median home prices remain an affordable $152,100, propped up by a growing job base. Eighty percent of the residential construction is single-family. Some of the market’s resilience stems from above-average population growth of about 2.3% a year. Back in the day, 2005, Nashville accounted for 16,654 permits; it now runs at about half that level. But that’s a better performance than most major markets.

Read the entire Builder.com new Article

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New Construction Homes are Smaller

According to USA TODAY, the “American Dream is shrinking.” Understandably, new construction is at a low ebb, if not an all-time low. Nevertheless, according to a recent article (“New homes being built smaller”), those homes that ARE being built in this sluggish economy are considerable smaller than in years past:

“For the first time in at least a decade, builders are substantially reducing the size of new houses.

“We’re trending toward smaller homes,” says Gopal Ahluwalia, director of research for the National Association of Home Builders. He says growth in the average size of new single-family homes, which went from 1,750 square feet in 1978 to 2,479 in 2007, is starting to reverse.

His analysis of Census data shows that homes started in the third quarter of 2008 averaged 2,438 square feet, down from 2,629 square feet in the second quarter. Ahluwalia, who began the quarterly analysis in 1999, says there have been slight dips before, but the latest drop was much steeper and is likely to hold even after the economy recovers.

In a survey of builders this month, his group found that 89% are building or planning smaller homes than they had been.”

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