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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts Down As Expected in November
by Tom Moeller December 18, 2007

November housing starts fell 3.7% from October to 1.187M units. Starts in October were revised up slightly due to more starts of multi-family units. Last month's figure matched Consensus expectations for 1.18M starts.

Single-family starts fell last month by another 5.4% m/m to 829,000 units (AR), the lowest level since 1991 and down 55% from the peak during January 2006.

Multi-family starts were roughly unchanged after the 45.9% m/m spike in October.

By region, single family starts in the Northeast retraced nearly all of the recovery during October with a 20.0% (-29.2% y/y) decline. Single family starts in the Midwest also were quite weak and fell 20.8% (-28.6% y/y). Single family starts in the West fell a more moderate 6.8% m/m yet remained down 63.9% from the 2005 peak. In the South starts reversed a third of the October decline with a 5.4% m/m increase (-36.1% y/y).

Building permits fell 1.5% (-24.6% y/y) and were off by nearly one half from the 2005 peak. Single-family permits fell as well by 5.6% (-33.7% y/y) and were off an even greater 57.5% from the peak.

Housing Woes Weigh Heavily on the Economy from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis can be found here.

Housing Starts (000s, AR) November October Y/Y 2006 2005 2004
Total 1,187 1,232 -24.2% 1,812 2,073 1,950
  Single-Family 829 876 -34.9% 1,474 1,719 1,604
  Multi-Family 358 356 22.6% 338 354 345
Building Permits 1,152 1,170 -24.6% 1,842 2,159 2,058
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