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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts Surge With Warm Weather & Rebound From Sandy
by Tom Moeller  January 17, 2013

Total housing starts surged last month due to unseasonably warm temperatures and the recovery in the Northeast from Hurricane Sandy. Total starts jumped 12.1% (36.9% y/y), the highest level since June 2008. A rise to 879,000 was the Consensus expectation. For 2012 in total, starts rose 27.5% y/y to 781,000 following single-digit gains in both 2011 and 2010. Higher starts of multi-family units led last month's rise in the total. The 20.3% m/m increase to 338,000 was to almost double the year-ago level. For the year, multi-family starts rose 38.2%. Single-family starts rose a lesser 8.1% last month (18.5% y/y) to 616,000, also the highest level since June 2008. Last year, single-family starts rose almost one-quarter to 535,000. 

By region, starts in the Midwest paced last month's rise with a nearly one-quarter increase to 197,000 (10.7% y/y). The Northeast followed with a 21.4% rise to 85,000 (37.1% y/y). In the West, starts rose 18.7% to 203,000 (57.4% y/y while starts in the South gained 3.8% to 469,000 (43.0% y/y). 

Building permits in December ticked up 0.3% (28.8% y/y) to 903,000. For the year, permits rose 28.1% to 800,000. Permits for single-family homes rose 1.8% last month (27.3% y/y) and for the year increased 21.7%. Multi-family permits fell 2.1% m/m but were up nearly one-third y/y. For the full year, permits to build multi-family homes rose 41.4%.

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

The latest Beige Book covering regional economic conditions from the Federal Reserve Board can be found here.

 

Housing Starts (000s,SAAR) Dec Nov Oct Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Total 954 851 889 36.9 781 612 586
 Single-Family 616 570 589 18.5 535 434 471
 Multi-Family 338 281 300 91.0 246 178 114
Starts By Region
 Northeast 85 70 78 37.1 78 68 72
 Midwest 197 158 156 10.7 129 103 97
 South 469 452 438 43.0 400 309 296
 West 203 171 217 57.4 173 132 120
Building Permits 903 900 868 28.8 800 624 604
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