February’s housing start numbers have been disappointing for the housing market. Housing starts fell last month by 10.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.42 million units, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
As house prices appreciation has accelerated across the country since Q3 of 2020, many saw an increase in new home supply as a possible cure for looming affordability issues, especially in frothy suburban markets. February’s housing starts may tell us that home builders aren’t riding in to save the day anytime soon.
It seems that 2020’s endemic problem with lumber prices has played a key role in declining housing starts. Rising interest rates, too, have dropped the number down. February’s ice storm across much of the central US also depressed these numbers, but economists and experts shared with MPA that the issues of these weak housing start numbers are far more structural, and likely to shape the housing market for at least the medium-term.