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Economy in Brief

Housing Starts Edged Higher
by Tom Moeller June 16, 2005

Housing starts edged 0.2% higher to 2.009M units in May following a downwardly revised 9.4% gain in April.Consensus expectations had been for 2.041M starts.

Single-family starts rose 4.7% m/m on top of the downwardly revised 5.0% increase during April. An 8.0% (3.8% y/y) increase single family starts in the Northeast recovered all of the prior month's decline but the level has been trending sideways-to-lower since late last year. Single family starts in the Midwest jumped 22.0% (4.1% y/y) and starts in the West surged 19.1 (-6.9% y/y). Weakness last month was in the South where a 7.8% (+10.0% y/y) decline reversed half of the prior month's surge.

Multi family starts reversed nearly all of the prior month's gain with a 19.3% decline.

Building permits fell 4.6% and have been slightly lower this year.

Housing Starts (000s, AR) May April Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Total 2,009 2,005 1.8% 1,950 1,854 1,7 10
  Single-family 1,704 1,627 3.3% 1,604 1,505 1,363
  Multi-family 305 378 -6.2% 345 349 347
Building Permits 2,050 2,148 -3.7% 2,058 1,8 88 1,749
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