The Key Housing Story That's Going To Get Even Worse In 2011

This is a key story: there were a record low number of housing completions in 2010, breaking the record set in 2009.

The total for single family, multi-family and manufactured homes (estimated) was 703 thousand units in 2010. That is about 17% below the 844 units completed in 2009 (including manufactured homes). The previous record low was 1.244 million in 1982.

As Tom Lawler noted, there will be record low number of multi-family units completed in 2011 – since it takes over a year on average to complete – and probably a record low number of total units.


Photo: Calculated Risk

Note: Multi-family completions will be at a record low this year, but starts will increase.This graph shows annual completions for 1 to 4 units, 5+ units and manufactured homes.

In 2010, 1 to 4 unit completions were at a record low 506 thousand. This was just below the 534 thousand units completed in 2009. This is far below the previous record low of 712 thousand units in 1982.

For 5+ units, completions were at 147 thousand units. This was just above the record low of 127 thousand in 1993 – and that record will be broken in 2011.

This doesn’t include demolitions that were probably in the 200 to 300 thousand unit range. This suggest the excess supply was reduced in 2010, and will probably be significantly reduced in 2011. Of course this also depends on household formation – and that means jobs.

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