According to the U.S. Census Bureau release this morning, housing starts shot up 20.2% in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.14 million, hitting the fastest rate since late 2007. Construction of Single-Family homes rose more than 16%, which is huge, and construction of multifamily (mostly apartments) rose even faster. The improvement in housing shown today does reflects the greater optimism we are hearing from our various field offices around the country. 

We at Metrostudy have just completed another complete count of builder activity and new-home supply in markets all around the nation.  The information comes from our 100% count of supply/demand metrics within the areas we research. 

Metrostudy’s new data (first quarter 2015) adds further evidence that:

  1. Demand for new homes is gradually recovering
  2. Developers and builders are investing billions to get ready for increased home production, and lot development is up 21.5% compared to a year ago.
  3. The supply of new homes remains tight. finished new-home inventory is still at 2.5 months supply, which falls in the historically normal range, but somewhat low for a market that is starting to revive rapidly (this explains the high rate of price increases on new homes). 
  4. The total count of vacant, developed lots is down 5% year-over-year. 

Here are some of the markets we've found are increasing home production the most. Note that the former “bubble” markets figure prominently in this list, reflecting the fact that they had fallen so far during the downturn.

7 Markets Increasing New-Home Production Most:
(quarterly data, construction of single-family detached homes, versus four quarters ago)

  • Northern Calif.: +46.3% 
  • Reno, Nev.: +44.9%
  • Las Vegas, Nev.: +36.5%
  • Naples-Ft. Myers, Fla.: +27.4%
  • Tampa, Fla.: +15.4%
  • Atlanta, Ga.: +15.0%
  • Denver-Colorado Springs, Colo.: +14.9%