Home | En Español | Contact Us | A to Z 

HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 98-94
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Monday
Or contact your local HUD officeFebruary 23, 1998


WASHINGTON - The U.S. Housing Market Conditions 4th Quarter Report issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development shows the housing sector was strong in 1997, Secretary Andrew Cuomo said today.

The HUD report found that multifamily housing starts hit their highest level since 1989 last year and that all regions of the country ended 1997 with healthy economies and housing markets. Moderate to strong employment increases were experienced in all regions.

"1997 was a year of rising homeownership and strong housing starts," Cuomo said. "Homebuyers and the housing industry have benefited from President Clinton's economic policies, which are holding down interest rates, increasing employment, boosting consumer confidence and balancing the federal budget."

U.S. Housing Market Conditions brings together data from the housing, real estate, and primary and secondary mortgage markets. Data are collected from housing organizations such as the National Association of Homebuilders, the National Association of Realtors, the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. Other data come from HUD, the Census Bureau and the Commerce Department.

Cuomo announced last month that in 1997 the U.S. homeownership rate hit a record annual high of 65.7% -- breaking the a-year record.

The HUD report on conditions in October, November and December 1997 found:

  • Building permits in the fourth quarter increased 4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,474,000 homes -- slightly ahead of 1996. Fourth quarter housing starts increased 5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,475,900 housing units, bringing 1997 within 900 units of the 1996 level.

  • Building permits were issued for 323,000 units new multifamily housing (defined as housing with five or more units) in the fourth quarter at a seasonally adjust annual rate (SAAR) -- up 5 percent from the third quarter. The annual rate for 1997 reached 316,200 units, placing 1997 as the best year since 1989.

  • Multifamily starts in the fourth quarter reached 348,000 units (SAAR), 27 percent ahead of both the previous quarter and the fourth quarter of 1996. Like permits, the 1997 annual total is the highest since 1989.

  • During the fourth quarter, 73 percent of the 51,100 apartments completed in the third quarter were rented. This is down from the 77 percent of the second quarter's 44,200 completions absorbed in the third quarter.

  • The rental vacancy rate declined to 7.7 percent in the fourth quarter, down 0.2 percentage points from the third quarter.

  • Shipments of manufactured homes in the third quarter were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 356,000 homes -- slightly behind the second quarter level. Placements of new manufactured homes totaled 279,000 (SAAR) in the third quarter.

  • Existing homes sales were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 4,353,000 in the fourth quarter -- 2 percent above the third quarter.

  • New home sales in the fourth quarter were at 806,000 and were equal to the level of the third quarter at a seasonally adjusted rate.

  • In the New England, New York/New Jersey, and the Mid-Atlantic regions, sales of existing homes in 1997 through the fourth quarter exceeded last year's strong experience. Existing homes sales in the New England region was up a robust 12 percent. Cities spotlighted in those regions in HUD's report included: Waterbury, Connecticut; Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon, New Jersey; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

  • The Southeast region experienced employment growth rates near 2.5 percent. Atlanta, Georgia, is a spotlighted city in the Southeast region.

  • In the Midwest region unemployment rates have reached historic lows and existing home sales in 1997 were up 2 percent to 868,600 homes, a record for the 1990s. Indianapolis, Indiana, is a spotlighted city in the Midwest region.

  • The Southwest region continued to record strong increases in multifamily housing construction, while the Pacific region recorded the largest employment gains. San Antonio, Texas, is a spotlighted city in the Southwest region with Phoenix taking accolades in the Pacific.

  • The largest employment gains occurred in the Northwest region, which had growth rates near 3 percent. Central Puget Sound in Washington state is a spotlighted city in the Northwest region.

  • The Great Plains region experienced strong home sales, while the Rocky Mountain region had a booming apartment market. Lincoln, Nebraska is spotlighted in the Great Plains region and Grand Forks, North Dakota had exceedingly good growth.

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

FOIA Privacy Web Policies and Important Links [logo: Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity]
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 7th Street S.W.
Washington, DC 20410
Telephone: (202) 708-1112 TTY: (202) 708-1455