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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts Slip While Permits Reach Cycle's High
by Tom Moeller  August 16, 2012

New residential building activity fell slightly last month but the future looks brighter. July housing starts fell 1.1% to 746,000 (+21.5% y/y) from 754,000 in June, revised from 760,000.  Expectations had been for 753,000 starts in July. Higher starts of multi-family units again led last month's improvement with a 12.4% gain (31.9% y/y) to 244,000. Starts of single-family homes fell 6.5% (+17.0% y/y) to 502,000. The performance amongst regions again was mixed m/m with the Midwest rising and other regions posting declines.

Portending a pick up in activity was a 6.8% gain in building permits to 812,000 (29.5% y/y). Single-family permits rose 4.5% (23.0% y/y) to 513,000 while multi-family permits increased 11.2% to 299,000 (42.4% y/y).

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) Jul Jun May Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Total 746 754 706 21.5 612 586 554
 Single-Family 502 537 513 17.0 434 471 442
 Multi-Family 244 217 193 31.9 178 114 112
Starts By Region
 Northeast 77 78 76 -10.5 68 72 61
 Midwest 117 100 108 28.6 103 97 95
 South 355 368 365 16.8 309 296 281
 West 197 208 157 48.1 131 120 117
Building Permits 812 760 784 29.5 624 604 582
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