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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts Rise As Multi-family Recovers
by Tom Moeller  June 18, 2013

Housing starts recovered last month following a sharp April decline. There has been no growth, however, during the last several months. Total housing starts increased 6.8% (28.6% y/y) during May to 914,000 (AR) from 856,000 in April, initially reported as 853,000 mil. Expectations had been for 950,000 starts in the Action Economics survey. Starts of multi-family units recovered 21.6% (60.7% y/y) to 315,000 and made up half of April's drop. Starts of single-family homes, however, ticked just 0.3% higher (16.3% y/y) to 599,000. These starts have been trending sideways since last fall.

By region, higher starts in the South led last month's recovery with a 17.8% increase (33.5% y/y) to 490,000. Starts in the West also rebounded 5.7% (39.0% y/y) to 221,000 and made up all of April's drop. Working the other way, housing starts in the Northeast fell 9.0% (-9.0% y/y), the fourth monthly decline this year. Starts were down 38.3% from the December peak. In the Midwest, housing starts fell 13.7% last month (+23.4% y/y) to 132,000.

Building permits backpedaled 3.1% (+20.8% y/y) to 974,000 last month following a 12.9% April jump. Permits to build single-family homes gained 1.3% (24.6% y/y) to 622,000, the high for the economic recovery. Permits to build multi-family units fell 10.0% (+14.7% y/y) to 352,000.

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) May Apr Mar May Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Total 914 856 1,005 28.6 781 612 586
 Single-Family 599 597 623 16.3 534 434 471
 Multi-Family 315 259 382 60.7 247 178 114
Starts By Region
 Northeast 71 78 94 -9.0 78 68 72
 Midwest 132 153 140 23.4 129 103 97
 South 490 416 554 33.5 400 309 296
 West 221 209 217 39.0 173 132 120
Building Permits 974 1,005 890 20.8 800 624 604
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