Residential construction numbers exceeded expectations again in December. Most of the gains, however, came from the multifamily sector. The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development reported that permits for residential construction were up 9.1 percent from November to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.873 million units, the highest of the year and 6.5 percent above the rate a year earlier. The November permitting rate was revised from 1.712 million to 1.717 million. Single-family permits rose 2.0 percent to 1.128 million units from 1.106 million in November, a slight upper revision from the 1.103 million units first reported for the month. Single-family authorizations were 8.5 percent lower than in December 2020. Multifamily permits rose 19.9 percent to 675,000 units, a 41.8 percent year-over-year improvement. There was also an unusual increase in permitting for two-to-four-unit dwellings. The 70,000-unit annual permitting rate represented a 45.8 percent increase from November and 42.9 percent on an annual basis. On an unadjusted basis, permits were issued for 152,000 residential units during the month, 81,300 of them single-family units. In November, the respective numbers were 131,800 and 80,400. For the entirety of 2021 there were 1.725 million construction permits issued compared to 1.471 the prior year, a gain of 17.2 percent. Single-family permits grew 13.4 percent to 1.111 million and the 562,100 multifamily permits represented an annual increase of 26.4 percent. [housingpermitschart]

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