U.S. Homebuilders Carry Strong Momentum Into New Year-BMO Economics

- U.S. housing starts outpace expectations by wide margin in December - December U.S. housing starts up 12.1 per cent, Midwest up 24.7 per cent

Marketwired

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS and TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan 17, 2013) - Homebuilders in the U.S. ended 2012 on a high note and are carrying strong momentum into 2013, according to a report from BMO Economics.

"Household formations continue to be on the rise, and with inventories near record lows, there will be higher levels of homebuilding activity across much of America in 2013," said Robert Kavcic, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets.

"U.S. housing starts surged 12.1 per cent to a better-than-expected 954,000 annualized units in December, the highest level since June-2008," noted Mr. Kavcic. "December was a warmer-than-normal month and likely added to the increased activity."

The U.S. housing market saw the strongest momentum in the latter stages of the year, with overall housing starts of 781,000 units in 2012 - a 27.5 per cent jump from 2011. These gains were spread across the country in December.

REGIONAL BREAKDOWN

STARTS Pct Annualized Units
Northeast +24.4 95,000
Midwest +24.7 197,000
South +3.8 469,000
West +18.7 203,000

Building permits were solid, with 903,000 annualized units in December, up from 900,000 the prior month. "While these numbers suggest some pullback in starts from December, the level of activity remains quite firm," stated Mr. Kavcic.

About BMO Financial Group

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