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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts Are Firm
by Tom Moeller  September 19, 2012

New residential building activity remained on a solid footing last month. Total housing starts rose 2.3% (29.1% y/y) to 750,000 (AR) from 733,000 during July, revised down from 746,000.  Expectations had been for 760,000 starts in August. Higher starts of single-family homes led last month's improvement. The 5.5% (26.8% y/y) gain to 535,000 was to the highest level since April 2010. Conversely, starts of multi-family homes fell 4.9% (+35.2% y/y) to 215,000 but they remained roughly one-third higher than the year-ago level.

By region, starts in the Midwest posted a strong 20.7% gain (55.8% y/y) followed by a 3.7% rise (22.1% y/y) in the South. Starts in the Northeast fell 12.6% (+35.7% y/y) and starts in the West were off 4.3% (+24.8% y/y). 

Building permits slipped 1.0% (+24.5% y/y) to 803,000 following several months of strength. Permits for single-family homes were roughly unchanged m/m (19.3% y/y) while multi-family permits fell 3.0% (+34.7% y/y).

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

How Positive Are Recent Employment and Labor Market Trends? from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis can be found here.

 

Housing Starts (000s,SAAR) Aug Jul Jun Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Total 750 733 754 29.1 612 586 554
 Single-Family 535 507 531 26.8 434 471 442
 Multi-Family 215 226 223 35.2 178 114 112
Starts By Region
 Northeast 76 87 78 35.7 68 72 61
 Midwest 134 111 98 55.8 103 97 95
 South 364 351 366 22.1 309 296 281
 West 176 184 212 24.8 131 120 117
Building Permits 803 811 760 24.5 624 604 582
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