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Economy in Brief

Housing Starts At A New High in January
by Tom Moeller February 16, 2005

Housing starts unexpectedly rose 4.7% in January to a record high of 2.159M following an upwardly revised 14.4% jump in December.Consensus expectations had been for a decline to 1.93M starts.

Single-family starts rose a moderate 2.7% m/m to a record high of 1.760M. The increase, however, was limited to a 20.0% gain in starts in the South. In other regions of the country single family starts fell.

Multi family starts jumped 14.1% m/m but the gain was just about back to the October level.

Building permits rose 1.7% in January, again mostly reflecting strength in single family permits in the South.

Today's testimony by Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan is available here.

Wicksell's Natural Rate from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis can be found here.

Housing Starts (000s, AR) Jan Dec Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Total 2,159 2,063 11.6% 1,952 1,853 1,710
  Single-family 1,760 1,713 12.5% 1,605 1,505 1,363
  Multi-family 399 350 8.1% 348 348 347
Building Permits 2,105 2,069 6.8% 2,035 1,889 1,749
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