New single-family starts in 2021 expanded at the fastest growth rate since 2013, according to NAHB analysis of the of the Survey of Construction. The 2021 single-family starts rate of 1.13 million units was 14% higher than 2020 and the highest total since the Great Recession.
Among all the nine Census divisions, the South Atlantic, West South Central and Mountain Divisions led the way with the most new single-family units started in 2021. These three divisions represent 20 states and Washington, D.C., and they accounted for more than two- thirds of the total new single-family housing starts in 2021.
In addition, single-family units started in the Pacific Division increased to 106,240 in 2021, exceeding 100,000 for the second straight year since the 2008 recession. There were 93,693 new single-family units started in the East North Central Division in 2021. While the Pacific Division accounted for 9% of the total new single-family housing starts, the East North Central Division accounted for 8%.
The other four divisions, including East South Central, West North Central, Middle Atlantic and New England, accounted for the remaining 16% of the total new single-family housing starts.
In 2021, four out of the nine divisions grew faster than the national level of 14%. The Middle Atlantic Division led the way with a 26% increase, followed by the East South Central Division with a 23% growth rate and the West South Central Division, which was up 19%. The growth rates of the other five divisions were close to or below the national level.
Jing Fu, NAHB Director of Forecasting and Analysis, provides additional analysis in this Eye on Housing blog post.