Demand for housing and lumber remains high.
According to Yahoo! Finance, an upward bump in US housing starts, again unusual for the season, kept the pressure on for customers to order the dimension lumber building materials they knew they would need for the looming spring construction season.
New home building in the US for December 2021 exceeded the historical trend for the time of year. Indeed, total housing starts in the US increased by +1.4% from November 2021, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.702 million units. This is an +2.5% improvement from the same month one year ago, when it was 1.661 million. Meanwhile, December permits for future homebuilding rose to 1.873 units, a whopping +9.1% gain from the previous month, when it was 1.717 million. December 2021 permits are up +6.7% compared to one year ago, when it was 1.106 million.
The backlog of houses authorized for construction but not yet started shot up +1.1% to a rate of 270,000 units last month, the highest on record.
November starts of single-family housing, the largest share of the market and construction method which uses the most wood, was 1.172 million annualized, a drop of -2.3% compared to November, when it was 1.199 million. Building permits are generally submitted two months before the home building is begun, so it’s quite unusual for this metric to be rising in December. Normally, not many builders want to break ground on a new house in February. Last year was different; December 2021 single-family permits grew by +8.5% compared to one year ago, when it was 1.128 million units.
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