While December isn’t usually the month in which contractors begin construction projects, apparently 2012 was an exception for the West Region.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, housing starts were up 5.7 percent in December in the West Census region, which includes Colorado, compared with December 2011.
However, new single-family home sales in the U.S. West were flat from December 2011 to December 2012, remaining at 5,000 new homes sold, according to another census report. While new home sales grew overall in 2012 compared with the previous year, December new home sales have hovered around 5,000 little since 2008.
The bureau reports that the number of new homes for sale in the West region rose 6.25 percent from December 2011 to December 2012, from 32,000 to 34,000, respectively. Nationally, new homes for sale remained flat.
A bulk of the increase in starts is attributable to multifamily projects, as single-family housing starts didn’t jump at nearly the rate multifamily units did, the bureau reported.
The 5,000 new multifamily housing starts in the West region were the most in the month of December since 2006; and they increased 92 percent compared with the 2,600 units started in December 2011.
Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor Association, attributes to the increase in construction to mild weather in December, providing builders with an opportunity to break ground at a time they normally wouldn’t.
Single-family starts demonstrated more restrained – though still substantial – growth: the 7,900 single-family starts in December represented a 49 percent increase compared with 5,300 starts in December 2011.
The Colorado Division of Housing reports that such growth “signals continued optimism among both home builders and apartment builders,” but cautions that, over a five-year period, starts totals remain well down from peak levels.
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