Monthly U.S. housing starts, seasonally adjusted annual information.New home construction continues to accelerate across the nation.  The Department of Commerce reported that there were 872,000 housing starts in September, including both multi-family and single family units.  The number was a 15% increase over August and a 35% increase over September 2011.  In late 2008 and early 2009, housing starts fell nearly all the way to 500,000.  For the most part, housing starts stayed under 600,000 until the last half of 2011, when construction started to pick up.  This chart from the Wall Street Journal published on October 17th shows the significant improvement in trend starting last fall and continuing through 2012.

Locally, in Washington County the improving trend is even stronger.  According to Construction Monitor, in 2011 through September, there were 539 residential building permits pulled.  Year-to-date through September 30, 2012, there were 816 residential building permits pulled–an increase of 51%.  All of 2011 saw 724 building permits.  If we stay on the same trajectory, we should end up over 1,000 permits pulled in 2012 in Washington County.

Much of the increase in new home construction is due to falling inventory levels.  In Washington County, the lower inventory levels have helped drive prices up.  The Utah Association of Realtors reported  a 13.6% increase in average prices from August 2011 compared with August 2012 for Washington County.

With year-to-date MLS reported closings at 2,297, new construction activity is tracking at approximately 30% of MLS reported sales.  Many buyers are avoiding the bidding wars of existing homes and the long waits associated with short sales and building a new home.

For those who are interested in evaluating new construction options, come see our New Home Center.  We can help you identify building lots or developments that meet your criteria and evaluate different builder options before you set foot on the property.

Click here to download a copy of our August market overview for Washington County.