Equal Number of Housing Units Started in Q1: ‘Built-for-Rent’ vs. ‘Built-for-Sale

  • 5 months ago

In addition to last week’s monthly housing starts report for January, the Census Bureau has recently released the data on Housing Units Started by Purpose and Design for the first quarter of 2023.

The following graph illustrates the quarterly intent, without seasonal adjustments, for four categories of housing starts since 1975: single-family homes built for sale (represented by the color red), owner-built starts (including contractor-built homes for owners, represented by the color orange), starts built for rent (represented by the color blue), and multi-family homes built for sale.

In Q1 2023, the number of single-family starts built for sale (red line) decreased by 33% compared to Q1 2022. Similarly, owner-built starts (orange line) experienced a decline of 22% year-over-year. The multi-family units built for sale also saw a decrease and remained at a low level.

However, there was a notable increase in the number of units built for rent (blue line), which rose by 8% in Q1 2023 compared to Q1 2022. Interestingly, the number of units built for rent in Q1 almost matched the number of units built for sale. This marked a significant milestone in the series’ history, as Q4 2022 was the first time since its inception in 1974 that there were more units built for rent than single-family units built for sale.

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