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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts Inch Higher
by Tom Moeller  September 18, 2013

Housing starts during August posted a 0.9% gain to 891,000 (19.0% y/y) and added to the 5.7% July increase to 883,000, revised down from 896,000 reported initially. The latest level fell short of expectations for 916,000 starts in the Action Economics survey. Starts of single-family homes improved by 7.0% to 628,000 (16.9% y/y) and reversed a 3.0% July decline. Starts of multi-family units fell 11.1% (+24.1% y/y) to 263,000 after a 28.7% rebound during July.

By region, the 12.0% increase (16.8% y/y) in starts in the South provided all of the lift to last month's total. In the Midwest, starts fell 3.3% (+14.8% y/y) to 147,000 while starts in the Northeast declined 8.2% to 101,000 (+34.7% y/y). Starts in the West fell 10.9% to 204,000 (+20.0% y/y). 

Building permits declined 3.8% last month (+11.0% y/y) to 918,000 and reversed all of the prior month's improvement. Permits to build single-family homes gained 3.0% to 627,000 (20.6% y/y) and reached a new high for the economic recovery. Permits to build multi-family units declined 15.7% to 291,000 (-5.2% y/y).

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

Shifting Expectations and Interest Rates from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is available here.

Housing Starts (000s, SAAR) Aug Jul Jun Aug Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Total 891 883 835 19.0 781 612 586
 Single-Family 628 587 605 16.9 534 434 471
 Multi-Family 263 296 230 24.1 247 178 114
Starts By Region
 Northeast 101 110 85 34.7 78 68 72
 Midwest 147 152 126 14.8 129 103 97
 South 439 392 419 16.8 400 309 296
 West 204 229 205 20.0 173 132 120
Building Permits 918 954 918 11.0 800 624 604
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