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Economy in Brief

Housing Starts Down
by Tom Moeller November 17, 2005

Housing starts in October fell 5.6% m/m to 2.014M units following an upwardly revised gain in September.The drop was to the lowest level since March and compared to Consensus expectations for a lesser decline to 2.06M starts.

The 3.7% decline in single-family starts reversed all of an upwardly revised 3.0% increase in September. Single family starts fell hard throughout the country. A 6.7% decline (-7.1% y/y) in the West was accompanied by a 7.2% drop (-6.6% y/y) in the Midwest. In the Northeast, single family starts were notably weak and fell 8.5% (+3.2% y/y) to the lowest level since April. Only an unchanged reading (11.6% y/y) in the South tempered the declines..

Multi family starts cratered 14.8% m/m after a downwardly revised 0.6% increase in September.

Building permits fell a hard 6.7% m/m to the lowest level since April as single family permits fell 4.9% (+4.9% y/y).

China: An Evolving Housing Market from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is available here.

Housing Starts (000s, AR) Oct Sept Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Total 2,014 2,134 -2.3% 1,950 1,854 1,7 10
  Single-family 1,704 1,770 2.3% 1,604 1,505 1,363
  Multi-family 310 364 -21.7% 345 349 347
Building Permits 2,071 2,219 -1.1% 2,058 1,8 88 1,749
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