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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts Jump Led By Multi-Family Units
by Tom Moeller  October 19, 2011

A surge in starts of multi-family units was the impetus behind a 15.0% m/m surge in housing starts last month. The level of starts overall was 658,000 (AR), the highest since April of last year. Expectations were for 590,000 units.

Starts in the multi-family sector jumped by more-than one-half m/m to 233,000, the highest level since October, 2008. Starts of single-family units rose a miniscule 1.7% to 425,000, the midpoint of the range since the middle of last year. By region, housing starts in the West and the South have shown the greatest forward momentum.

Building permits declined 5.0% (+5.7% y/y) to the lowest level since April. Multi-family permits dropped 14.5% (+11.3% y/y) and single-family permits slipped 0.2% (+3.5% y/y).

The housing starts figures can be found in Haver's USECON database. The expectations figure is contained in the AS1REPNA database.

The Effects of the Great Recession on Central Bank Doctrine and Practice is the title of yesterday's speech by Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and it can be found here.

Housing Starts (000s, SAAR) Sep Aug Jul Y/Y % 2010 2009 2008
Total 658 572 615 10.2 585 554 900
 Single-Family 425 418 430 -4.9 471 442 616
 Multi-Family 233 154 185 55.3 114 112 284
Starts By Region
 Northeast 62 55 85 -10.1 72 61 120
 Midwest 94 86 90 -3.1 98 95 134
 South 339 293 306 13.8 296 281 451
 West 163 138 134 22.6 120 117 195
Building Permits 594 625 601 5.7 603 582 896
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