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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts Slip M/M But Rise Y/Y
by Tom Moeller  January 19, 2012

Full-year 2011 was moderately improved for new home building, but was not great. In December only, the level of housing starts overall fell to 657,000 (AR) from an unrevised 685,000 in November. The latest fell short of expectations for 676,000 units. For the full year, starts of 607,000 were up 3.7% from 2010 and were the highest since 2008.

Starts of single-family homes rose to the best level since April, 2007. For the full-year, however, starts of one-family homes fell 8.8% and more-than reversed the 2010 increase. Starts of multi-family homes were last year's bright spot. Though they fell in December to 187,000 units, the rise for the year to 177,000 units was to the highest level since 2008.

Building permits were roughly unchanged last month at 679,000 (7.8% y/y). Permits remained the highest since October 2008. Single-family starts rose 1.8% but slipped 0.2% Dec/Dec. They were down 8.1% for the full-year. Multi-family permits fell 3.7% m/m but were up by one-quarter y/y.

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

Increased Real House Price Volatility Signals Break from Great Moderation from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas is available here.

Housing Starts (000s, SAAR) Dec Nov Oct Y/Y % 2011 2010 2009
Total 657 685 628 24.9 607 585 554
 Single-Family 470 450 437 11.6 429 471 442
 Multi-Family 187 235 191 78.1 177 114 112
Starts By Region
 Northeast 57 97 64 -1.7 68 72 61
 Midwest 144 93 110 121.5 100 97 95
 South 320 330 322 19.0 307 296 281
 West 136 165 132 1.5 132 120 117
Building Permits 679 680 644 7.8 607 603 582
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