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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts Rebound As Multi-family Recovers; Single-family Slips
by Tom Moeller  August 16, 2013

Housing starts improved 5.9% last month to 896,000 (20.9% y/y) and reversed most of the June decline to 846,000, initially reported as 836,000. The rise nearly matched expectations for 903,000 starts in the Action Economics survey. Multi-family units increased to 305,000 (33.2% y/y) and recovered most of June's decline. Starts of single-family homes fell 2.2% to 591,000 (+15.4% y/y) following a 1.2% gain. Single-family starts remained just equal, however, to last September's level.

By region, starts in the Northeast rebounded 40.2% to 115,000 (30.7% y/y). In the Midwest, starts gained by one-quarter to 158,000 (36.2% y/y) while starts in the West rose 7.2% to 222,000 (19.4% y/y). Starts in the South fell 7.0% to 401,000 (+14.2% y/y). 

Building permits gained 2.7% last month to 943,000 (12.4% y/y). Starts remained, however, 6.2% below the peak level three months earlier. Permits to build single-family homes declined 1.9% to 613,000 (+17.9% y/y) and reversed two months of increase. Permits to build multi-family units rose 12.6% to 330,000 (3.4% y/y) and recovered half of June's drop.

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) Jul Jun May Jul Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Total 896 846 919 20.9 781 612 586
 Single-Family 591 604 597 15.4 534 434 471
 Multi-Family 305 242 332 33.2 247 178 114
Starts By Region
 Northeast 115 82 101 30.7 78 68 72
 Midwest 158 126 135 36.2 129 103 97
 South 401 431 482 14.2 400 309 296
 West 222 207 201 19.4 173 132 120
Building Permits 943 918 985 12.4 800 624 604
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