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Economy in Brief

June Housing Starts Fell More Than Expected
by Tom Moeller July 19, 2006

Housing starts fell 5.3% last month to 1.850M units, a decline that outpaced Consensus expectations for a lesser drop to 1.90M starts. For 2Q starts averaged 1.878M, down 11.5% from 1Q and it was the lowest quarterly level since mid 2003.

Total housing starts in June were 18.3% below the peak this past January.

Single-family starts fell 6.5% last month to 1.486M, a level which was 18.1% below the January peak. During 2Q single family starts fell 12.2% from the prior quarter.

Multi family starts rose a slight 0.3% in June but for 2Q fell 8.2%.

By region, single family housing starts were the weakest last month in the Northeast where starts plummeted by one third (-37.8% y/y) to the lowest level in ten years. In the South single family starts fell 5.5% (-11.2% y/y) and in the West single family starts fell 5.9% (-11.0% y/y). In the Midwest starts rose a modest 3.6% during June but were down 13.3% y/y.

Building permits fell for the fifth consecutive month and were down 16.9% from last year's peak.

Today's Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress by Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is available here.

Housing Starts (000s, AR) June May Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Total 1,850 1,953 -11.0% 2,073 1,950 1,854
  Single-family 1,486 1,590 -13.8% 1,719 1,604 1,505
  Multi-family 364 363 2.8% 354 345 349
Building Permits 1,862 1,946 -14.9% 2,159 2,058 1,888
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