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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts Weaken Further
by Tom Moeller   November 17, 2010

Earlier signs of stability in the housing sector reversed during October. Housing starts fell 11.7% last month to 519,000 (AR) from a downwardly revised September level. The latest was the lowest since April of last year and starts were down more than three-quarters from the peak in early-2006. The latest figure was lower than Consensus expectations for 600,000 starts.

The decline reflected a 1.1% drop in starts of single-family homes to 436,000 from a downwardly revised September level. Starts of multi-unit units fell 43.5% to 83,000 from a September level that was revised down sharply. Starts of 2-to-4 unit structures, which are few in number, rose by half m/m (80.0% y/y) but starts with more than five units fell to the lowest since February (+51.0% y/y). Starts in the West fell most sharply with a one-third m/m decline followed by a 13.4% decline in the South. Starts in both the Northeast and the Midwest both rose moderately m/m as part of a sideways trend.

Working the other way, building permits rose very slightly m/m as part of the sideways trend in place since the spring. Stability in both single and multi-family units.

The housing starts figures can be found in Haver's USECON database.

Housing Starts (000s,SAAR) Oct Sept Aug Oct Y/Y % 2009 2008 2007
Total 519 588 614 -1.9 554 900 1,342
 Single-Family 436 441 432 -8.2 442 616 1,036
 Multi-Family 83 147 182 53.7 112 284 306
Starts By Region
 Northeast 79 70 75 43.6 61 120 143
 Midwest 98 97 111 -2.0 95 134 206
 South 251 290 289 -6.7 281 451 676
 West 91 131 139 -13.3 117 195 317
Building Permits 550 547 571 -4.5 583 896 1,392
 
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