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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts Gain Reflects Firmer Multi-family Sector
by Tom Moeller  April 16, 2013

Total housing starts jumped to 1,036M (AR) last month from 968,000 in February, initially reported as 917,000. Expectations had been for 930,000 starts in the Action Economics survey of economists. It was the highest level since June 2008. More starts of multi-family units led last month's rise with a nearly one-third jump to 417,000 (85.3% y/y). Starts of single-family homes fell 4.8% (28.7% y/y) to 619,000.

By region, starts in the South gained 10.9% (58.2% y/y) to 560,000 while starts in the Midwest rose 9.6% (28.4% y/y) to 149,000. Starts in the West rose a moderate 2.7% (53.7% y/y) to 229,000 but starts in the Northeast fell 5.8% (+12.6% y/y) to 98,000.

Building permits backpedaled 3.9% (+17.3% y/y) to 902,000 last month. Permits to build single-family homes slipped 0.5% (+27.7% y/y) to 595,000 while permits to build multi-family units dropped 10.0% (+1.3% y/y) to 307,000.

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

First Impressions Can Be Misleading. Revisions to Home Price Changes from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York can be found here.

 

Housing Starts (000s, SAAR) Mar Feb Jan Mar Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Total 1,036 968 902 46.7 781 612 586
 Single-Family 619 650 616 28.7 534 434 471
 Multi-Family 417 318 286 85.3 247 178 114
Starts By Region
 Northeast 98 104 86 12.6 78 68 72
 Midwest 149 136 96 28.4 129 103 97
 South 560 505 485 58.2 400 309 296
 West 229 223 235 53.7 173 132 120
Building Permits 902 939 904 17.3 800 624 604
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