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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts Rise and Remain At Highest Level Since 2008
by Tom Moeller  November 20, 2012

In October, building was begun on more residential housing units than in any month since July 2008. Total housing starts gained another 3.6% (41.9% y/y) to 894,000 (AR) last month from 863,000 during September, revised up from 872,000. Expectations had been for 840,000 starts. Since the recession trough in April 2009 starts have risen 87.0%. Higher starts of multi-family homes led the October increase with an 11.9% rise (57.1% y/y) to 300,000. Single-family starts slipped 0.2% (+35.3% y/y) to 594,000.

By region, starts in the West led last month's increase with a 17.2% rise (73.1% y/y) followed by an 8.9% gain (44.5% y/y) in the Midwest. Elsewhere in the country there were m/m declines. Starts in the Northeast fell 6.5% (+10.8% y/y) and in the South housing starts were off 2.5% (+34.3% y/y). 

Building permits declined 2.7% (+29.8% y/y) to 866,000 during October. Permits for multi-family homes backpedaled 10.6% (+36.3% y/y) but single-family permits increased 2.2% m/m (26.6% y/y).

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

The Economic Recovery and Economic Policy is the title of today's speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and it can be found here.

 

Housing Starts (000s,SAAR) Oct Sep Aug Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Total 894 863 750 41.9 612 586 554
 Single-Family 594 595 538 35.3 434 471 442
 Multi-Family 300 268 212 57.1 178 114 112
Starts By Region
 Northeast 72 77 74 10.8 68 72 61
 Midwest 159 146 130 44.5 103 97 95
 South 431 442 376 34.3 309 296 281
 West 232 198 170 73.1 131 120 117
Building Permits 866 890 801 29.8 624 604 582
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