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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts Strength Driven by Multi-family
by Tom Moeller  May 16, 2014

Housing starts in April gained 13.2% to 1.072 million (AR, 26.4% y/y) from 947,000 during March, revised from 946,000. The latest figure was the highest since November and easily beat expectations for 980,000 starts in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Last month's increase was driven by a 39.6% rebound (64.6% y/y) in starts of multi-family homes to the highest level since January 2006. Starts of single-family homes nudged 0.8% higher (9.8% y/y) to 649,000, the highest level since December.

By region, starts in the Midwest gained 42.1% (40.3% y/y) to 216,000 while in the Northeast starts rose 28.7% (78.2% y/y) to 139,000. Starts in the West increased 11.1% (12.7% y/y) to 231,000 while starts in the South improved 1.5% (18.2% y/y) to 486,000.

Building permits increased 8.0% (3.8% y/y) to 1.080 million. Permits to build multi-family homes rebounded 19.5% (14.4% y/y) to 478,000, the highest level since June 2008. Single-family permits nudged 0.3% higher (-3.2% y/y) to 602,000, 6.7% below the November peak.

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) Apr Mar Feb Apr Y/Y % 2013 2012 2011
Total 1,072 947 928 26.4 929 783 612
 Single-Family 649 644 589 9.8 621 537 434
 Multi-Family 423 303 339 64.6 308 247 178
Starts By Region
 Northeast 139 108 87 78.2 96 80 68
 Midwest 216 152 122 40.3 149 128 103
 South 486 479 502 18.2 467 400 309
 West 231 208 217 12.7 217 175 132
Building Permits 1,080 1,000 1,011 3.8 964 829 624
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