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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts Rise With Multi-Family Strength
by Tom Moeller  December 20, 2011

Housing activity firmed last month. The level of housing starts overall rose to 685,000 (AR) during November from 627,000 in October, revised down from 628,000 reported last month. Overall starts have risen 20.6% from the low of Q4'10 and the latest beat expectations for 630,000 units.

Starts of multi-family units led last month's improvement with a one-quarter m/m rise to 238,000, the highest level since September 2008. Starts of single-family homes rose to 447,000 units from an upwardly revised 437,000 in October. The increase pulled the level 26.6% above the recession low. However, starts still were down from early-last year when activity rose due to the first-time home buyers tax credit. By region, housing starts rose across the country except the Midwest.

Building permits rose 5.7% (20.7% y/y) to 681,000 and added to the slightly revised 9.3% October increase. Permits were the highest since October 2008. Single-family starts rose 1.6% and were up 3.6% y/y. Multi-family permits rose 13.9% and were nearly three-quarters above one year ago.

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

Housing Starts (000s, SAAR) Nov Oct Sep Y/Y % 2010 2009 2008
Total 685 627 646 24.3 585 554 900
 Single-Family 447 437 422 -0.5 471 442 616
 Multi-Family 238 190 224 145.4 114 112 284
Starts By Region
 Northeast 100 65 59 28.2 72 61 120
 Midwest 90 110 98 -16.7 98 95 134
 South 332 319 327 24.3 296 281 451
 West 163 133 162 66.3 120 117 195
Building Permits 681 644 589 20.7 603 582 896
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