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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts Rebound
by Tom Moeller  May 16, 2012

The rebound was modest, but at least it stemmed two months of decline. Housing starts in April rose 2.6% to 717,000 following a 2.6% decline during March, revised from 5.8% reported last month. Starts also slipped 0.3% in February. Figures back to 2010 were revised. Expectations had been for 679,000 starts.

Starts of single-family homes rose 2.3% (18.8% y/y) to 492,000. That repeated the March advance which was revised higher from the initial report. Starts of multi-family homes also recovered 3.2% (63.0% y/y) after a 12.1% March decline. The performance amongst regions was mixed. Starts in the Midwest rose 6.7% (32.3% y/y) and starts in the South increased 11.6% (38.5% y/y). To the downside, starts in the Northeast fell 20.7% (+19.0% y/y) while starts in the West were off 8.1% (+13.3% y/y). 

Building permits fell 7.0% (+23.7% y/y) to 715,000 following an 8.8% March rise that was double the initial report. Single-family permits rose 1.9% (18.5% y/y) to 475,000. Multi-family permits reversed the March gain and fell 20.8% (+35.6% y/y) to 240,000.

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

Prescriptions for Housing Recovery is yesterday's speech by Fed Governor Elizabeth A. Duke and it can be found here.

Housing Starts (000s, SAAR) Apr Mar Feb Y/Y % 2011 2010 2009
Total 717 699 718 29.9 612 586 554
 Single-Family 492 481 470 18.8 434 471 442
 Multi-Family 225 218 248 63.0 178 114 112
Starts By Region
 Northeast 69 87 66 19.0 68 72 61
 Midwest 127 119 99 32.3 103 97 95
 South 385 345 419 38.5 309 296 281
 West 136 148 134 13.3 131 120 117
Building Permits 715 769 707 23.7 624 604 582
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