Instant Reaction: January Housing Starts

The following is NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun’s reaction to this morning’s release from the U.S. Commerce Department on January new home construction:

“Terrific news on housing starts in January with a solid 10% gain. This rise in single-family housing construction will help tame home price growth, and the increase in multifamily units should continue to help slow rent growth. The large gain in housing starts in the West (10.7%) is especially welcomed, as that region has been facing acute housing shortages. Ultimately, there is still large room for improvement given the fact overall housing inventory is currently near historic lows.

This boost in housing supply not only helps the economy, but may also help the Federal Reserve temper the pace of future short-term rate hikes. That’s because the slow upward creep in the broad consumer price inflation is principally being driven by rising housing costs. Simply put, more housing supply means a lower inflation rate, and potentially a slower pace of interest rate increases by the Fed.”