Home construction slowed a bit in July, according to the latest data released from the Commerce Department. In a nutshell, housing starts overall fell 4.8% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.16 million, and multi-family home starts really dropped in July, falling 17.1%. Single-family home starts were also on the decline, but only by just 0.5%.
The good news is that new home construction throughout all of 2017 has still increased by 2.4%, although the slight gain still hasn’t been able to keep up with demand and offset the dwindling inventory of existing homes on the market, which continues to drive home prices up all over the country and has easily been one of the biggest challenges facing home buyers for most of this year.
Despite new home starts dropping in the Northeast, Midwest, and out West, however, we’ve actually seen a relatively modest increase here in the Southern portion of the country, keeping home price gains a bit more manageable for buyers and continuing to make cities like Tampa a great landing spot for first-time home buyers especially. But with the number of sales listings declining on an year-over-year basis for the past 25 straight months, expect more of the same when it comes to rising home prices, even if construction picks up heading into the fall season and beyond.