Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

Instant Reaction: Housing Starts, February 19, 2020

The following is NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun’s reaction to the release from the U.S. Commerce Department on new home construction:

“The latest month’s decline in housing starts is nothing to be concerned about. This housing data is quite jumpy. What is important is the trend line, which is clearly on an upward path. Higher housing permit issuances are also a positive indicator for even greater production in the months ahead.

Housing starts of 1.57 million units (annualized rate) in January following 1.63 million in December marks the only two months in over a decade where activity has been above the historical average of 1.5 million a year. More construction will mean more housing inventory for consumers in the later months of this year. Spring months could still be quite tough for buyers, since it takes time to convert housing starts into actual housing completions. As trade-up buyers move into these new completed homes in the near future, their existing homes will be released onto the market.”