December 2021 date shows that the construction of new homes climbed for the third consecutive month. Reports find that new construction homes are at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.7 million units. Close to 1.6 million housing units were started at a 15.6% increase over 2020.
Even with the rising interest rates, the housing market is still going strong. The average long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose to the highest levels since March 2020 in January 2022. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, says economists expect to see an increase in mortgage rates this year. This is due to the Federal Reserve slowing down on purchasing monthly bonds.
Applications for building permits rose 9.1% to a seasonally-adjusted rate of 1.87 million units. This is the strongest month for permits since the beginning of the year in January 2021. Applications for building permits can forecast future building activity. Housing starts in the Northeast and the Midwest rose the most at 20% and 36%.
The National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo monthly survey, which gauges builder sentiment, reported that it still remained stable. This is good news since builder sentiment was down slightly to 83 at the beginning of 2022.
“Demand exceeds supply, and builders are working as hard as they can to catch up, a process that was always going to be measured in years, not months, after the massive shift in demand toward single-family homes sparked by the pandemic,” said Stephen Stanley, chief economist for Amherst Pierpont.