Housing Starts Data & Statistics

Highlights. New house starts are just 3.5% below their 60-year average indicating market equilibrium despite a brief dip in early 2020.

  • In the last 12 months, there have been 1.6 million new house starts.
  • There were 1.4 million new house starts in 2020.
  • 72% of new house starts were single family housing.
  • 11 million new houses have broken ground since 2010.
  • New house starts represent 95.2% of housing permits.

Line Graph: Annual New Housing Permits and New Starts

Annual New Privately Owned Housing Authorized Permits & Starts
Year Permits Starts
2020 1.45M 1.38M
2019 1.39M 1.29M
2018 1.33M 1.25M
2017 1.28M 1.20M
2016 1.21M 1.17M
2015 1.18M 1.11M
2014 1.05M 1.00M
2013 991K 925K
2012 830K 781K
2011 624K 609K
2010 605K 587K
2009 583K 554K
2008 905K 906K
2007 1.40M 1.36M
2006 1.84M 1.80M
2005 2.16M 2.07M
2004 2.07M 1.96M
2003 1.89M 1.85M
2002 1.75M 1.70M
2001 1.64M 1.60M
2000 1.59M 1.57M

Line Graph: Monthly New Housing Permits and New Housing Starts, for the previous 12 months, July 2020 (135K permits, 139K starts) to July 2021 (140K permits, 141K starts)

Monthly Authorized Housing Permits & Starts, Not Seasonally Adjusted
Month Permits Starts
Aug ’21 155K 144K
Jul ’21 139K 143K
Jun ’21 155K 154K
May ’21 142K 146K
Apr ’21 158K 136K
Mar ’21 158K 141K
Feb ’21 120K 102K
Jan ’21 129K 115K
Dec ’20 134K 113K
Nov ’20 120K 120K
Oct ’20 133K 131K
Sep ’20 133K 126K
Aug ’20 126K 123K
Jul ’20 135K 139K

New Housing Starts by Year

Last year saw the most new privately owned residential construction starts since 2006.

  • 1.38 million total new privately owned housing starts began in 2020.
  • 1.45 million total housing permits were issued.
  • 27.3% of housing starts in 2020 were buildings of 5-or-more units.
  • 71.8% of new housing was single family homes.
  • New house starts increased 7.0% between 2019 and 2020.
  • An average of 1.03 million housing units have gone up each year since 2010.
  • New starts are up 148.7% from 2009, the industry’s lowest point in 60 years.
  • The most dramatic annual decrease in housing starts was in 2009, when new house starts fell 35.6% from the previous year.
  • 2008 itself was the second-most dramatic plunge with new house starts down 35.3% from 2007.
  • The 60-year median is 1.15 million annual new house starts.
  • 1.43 million is the 60-year average annual new house starts.

Line Graph: New Privately Owned Housing Starts per Fiscal Quarter, from 1Q2018 to 1Q2021, single family, multi-family, and total starts

New Housing Starts by Month

New house starts or new housing starts refer to residential construction projects that have broken ground. Most of the data in this report has not been seasonally adjusted.

  • In seasonally adjusted statistics, the busiest month (July) sees 41% more house starts than the slowest time of year (April).
  • Seasonal adjustment accounts for seasonal peaks and valleys in the real estate construction market.
  • Seasonally adjusted new housing statistics more accurately reflect current real estate market health.

Line Graph: New Privately Owned Housing Starts in 2020, seasonally adjusted and non seasonally adjusted

Non-Seasonally Adjusted Housing Starts

Non-seasonally adjusted statistics reflect the true number of buildings going up.

  • In data that has not undergone seasonal adjustment, December was the busiest month of 2020.
  • New privately owned housing starts average 115,000 monthly.
  • An average of 121,800 new housing permits are authorized monthly.
  • Housing units are completed at an average rate of 107,600 per month.

Line Graph: New Privately-Owned Housing Starts Each Year Starting in 1960

Historical Annual New Privately Owned Housing Authorized Permits & Starts
Year Permits Starts
1999 1.66M 1.64M
1995 1.33M 1.35M
1990 1.11M 1.19M
1985 1.73M 1.74M
1980 1.19M 1.29M
1975 0.94M 1.16M
1970 1.35M 1.43M
1965 1.24M 1.47M
1960 998K 1.25M

Housing Starts by Location

Among regional housing starts, the South produces the highest rate of single family homes.

  • 75.2% of Southern housing starts are single family.
  • 54.9% of Northeastern homes are single family, giving it the lowest rate of single family home builds.
  • 71.0% of Midwestern new housing starts and 70.6% of Western homes are single family.
New Privately-Owned Housing Starts by Region
Region Total Starts Single Family
Northeast 112K 61K
Midwest 192K 136K
South 736K 553K
West 341K 241K

Housing Starts by Division

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) localize and chart certain data variables once per decade. Each year sees another set of variables’ decennial localized data.

  • New England saw the largest 10-year change, seeing 1.85% fewer new housing starts in 2014 than in 2004.
  • West South Central’s market improved the most with a 1.73% increase over that decade.
  • 55.6% of divisions saw a decennial change greater than 1.00%.
Annual Housing Starts by National Division
Division Starts 2014 Change From 2004
New England 28.9K -1.86%
Middle Atlantic 89.5K +0.05%
East North Central 89.0K +0.15%
West North Central 76.2K +1.32%
South Atlantic 258K +1.15%
East South Central 58.1K +1.27%
West South Central 207K +1.73%
Mountain 106K +0.07%
Pacific 139K -0.08%

Map of New Privately Owned Housing Builds per thousand people

Housing Starts by State

Statistics indicate that most states and territories have steady real estate and construction industries.

  • In Alaska, there is a 1,109% difference between the number of buildings started in 2014 and the number of permits authorized in 2019.
  • In North Dakota, the difference between 2014 starts and 2019 permits is -80.2%.
  • 79.2% of markets changed by less than 1.00% between 2004 and 2014.
  • Alaska’s market saw the most dramatic change among all states and territories with the rate of new housing construction starts dropping by 8.63% over 10 years.
Annual Housing Starts by State
State 2014 Starts 2019 Permits
Alabama 13.5K 17.7K
Alaska 1.39K 16.8K
Arizona 27.0K 46.6K
Arkansas 7.97K 12.7K
California 83.7K 110K
Colorado 28.7K 38.6K
Connecticut 5.33K 5.85K
Delaware 5.19K 5.54K
District of Columbia 4.19K 5.95K
Florida 84.1K 154K
Georgia 39.7K 53.8K
Hawaii 3.07K 4.09K
Idaho 8.81K 17.7K
Illinois 20.6K 20.5K
Indiana 17.8K 22.3K
Iowa 10.4K 11.9K
Kansas 7.47K 7.96K
Kentucky 9.42K 11.8K
Louisiana 15.3K 15.8K
Maine 3.25K 4.76K
Maryland 16.3K 18.5K
Massachusetts 14.5K 17.4K
Michigan 15.8K 20.6K
Minnesota 17.0K 28.6K
Mississippi 6.96K 6.95K
Missouri 16.3K 17.5K
Montana 3.89K 2.50K
Nebraska 7.69K 8.03K
Nevada 13.0K 20.1K
New Hampshire 3.41K 4.74K
New Jersey 28.2K 36.5K
New Mexico 4.80K 5.02K
New York 36.3K 45.2K
North Carolina 49.9K 71.3K
North Dakota 12.6K 2.50K
Ohio 20.0K 23.0K
Oklahoma 14.2K 12.2K
Oregon 16.6K 22.0K
Pennsylvania 25.1K 23.5K
Puerto Rico 2.47K
Rhode Island 952 1.40K
South Carolina 27.6K 36.0K
South Dakota 4.74K 4.42K
Tennessee 28.3K 41.4K
Texas 170K 210K
Utah 17.5K 28.8K
Vermont 1.55K 1.80K
Virginia 28.7K 32.4K
Virgin Islands 293
Washington 33.9K 48.4K
West Virginia 2.69K 3.01K
Wisconsin 14.7K 17.5K
Wyoming 1.94K 1.71K

Housing Starts by Building Type

Rental property trends, such as rental vacancy rates and interstate migration statistics indicate larger complexes may be falling out of favor with renters.

  • Single family homes make up 71.8% of new housing starts.
  • Multi-family homes or those with 2 to 4 units make up 3.23% of new housing.
  • Homes with 5 units or more make up 27.2% of new housing starts.
Annual Housing Starts by Building Type
Year Building Type Starts
2020 Single Family 991K
Multi-Family 13K
5-or-more Units 376K
2019 Single Family 888K
Multi-Family 13K
5-or-more Units 389K
2018 Single Family 876K
Multi-Family 14K
5-or-more Units 360K
2017 Single Family 849K
Multi-Family 11K
5-or-more Units 343K
2016 Single Family 782K
Multi-Family 12K
5-or-more Units 381K

Line Graph: New Privately Owned Housing Starts by Building Type from 2000 to 2020

Other New Housing Statistics

The annual number of single family housing starts has increased every year since 2011.

  • 87.5% of single family homes are detached.
  • 75.3% are built with the intent to sell.
  • Among multi-unit residential buildings, 5.97% are built with the intent to sell.
  • The average single family home has more than twice the floor space of the average apartment.
  • 85.6% of new apartment housing is in buildings with 20 units or more.
  • 6.19% of single family homes are built by the owner.
2019* Building Characteristics by Number of Units
Building Type Variable Starts
Single Family Built for Rental 219K
Contractor-Built 124K
Detached 777K
Average Size 2,498 ft2
Multi-Family Built for Sale 24K
Built for Rental 378K
2-4 Units 13K
20+ Units 344K
Average Unit Size 1,115 ft2

*2020 data will likely be unavailable until 2022

New Pending Housing

A building may be listed as “pending” indefinitely, making it difficult to gauge the efficiency of the construction industry based on the number of projects alone.

  • 80% of single family housing projects begin within 8 weeks of authorization.
  • 43% of single family projects break ground within a month of authorization.
  • 6.1% don’t break ground for 4 months or more.
  • In buildings with 2 units or more, 19% don’t break ground for 4 months or more.
  • Buildings with 10 or more units are the most likely to take longer; 22% don’t break ground within 4 months of authorization.
  • Buildings that take longer to break ground are more likely to be owner-built.
New Pending* Housing
Month Total
Aug’21 248K
July’21 241K
June’21 254K
May’21 251K
Apr’21 253K
Mar ’21 236K
Feb ’21 216K
Jan ’21 202K
Dec ’20 188K
Nov ’20 174K
Oct ’20 178K
Sep ’20 176K
Aug ’20 167K
Jul ’20 168K
Jun ’20 170K
May ’20 172K
Apr ’20 167K
Mar ’20 161K
Feb ’20 165K
Jan ’20 178K
Dec ’19 182K
Dec ’18 188K
Dec ’17 153K
Dec ’16 136K

*Housing permits have been authorized but projects have not broken ground.

New Completed Housing

Logically, the more units a building includes, the longer it takes to complete. Buildings with 10+ units take at least 3 months from the time ground is broken until the project is deemed complete.

  • Average construction time nationwide is 7 months for single family homes and 15 months for multi-unit projects.
  • Single family construction averages over 11 months in the Northeast.
  • 47% of single family homes take 4-6 months to complete.
  • 9% of single family homes take 13 months or more.
  • 60% of multi-unit projects take 13 months or more.
  • 39% of 2- to 4-unit projects take 13 months or more.
  • 21% take 6 months or less.
Newly Completed Housing, 2020
Month Total Single Family
January 90.2K 62.5K
February 90.8K 70.8K
March 102K 72.3K
April 94.6K 69.3K
May 98.5K 69.5K
June 111K 81.8K
July 117K 79.5K
August 111K 78.9K
September 121K 78.6K
October 121K 80.7K
November 99.6K 75.6K
December 134K 95.7K

Sources

  1. U.S. Census Bureau, State Population Totals and Components of Change
  2. Census Bureau, New Residential Construction
  3. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Housing Market Conditions: National Housing Market Summary and Data