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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts Decline As Activity In South Tanks
by Tom Moeller  July 17, 2014

New building activity turned in a very lopsided performance last month. Housing starts during June fell 9.3% to 893,000 AR (+7.5% y/y) following a 7.3% May decline to 985,000, revised from 1.001 million. The latest figure was well below expectations for 1.020 million starts in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Last month's decline reflected a 9.9% retreat (+38.3% y/y) in starts of multi-family homes and a 9.0% drop (4.3% y/y) in starts of single-family homes.

The South's 29.6% plunge (-10.5% y/y) in starts led the way down for the total. Elsewhere, new building activity improved. In the Midwest, starts rose 28.1% (79.5% y/y). That was accompanied by a 14.1% rise (22.1% y/y) in the Northeast and a 2.6% gain (-4.9% y/y) in the West.

Building permits declined for the third month in the last four. Last month's 4.2% drop (+2.7% y/y) followed a 5.1% May shortfall. It was led by a 14.9% decline (+6.8% y/y) in multi-family permits. Permits to build single-family homes increased 2.6% (0.6% y/y) to the highest level since November.

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) Jun May Apr Jun Y/Y % 2013 2012 2011
Total 893 985 1,063 7.5 929 783 612
 Single-Family 575 632 649 -4.3 621 537 434
 Multi-Family 318 353 414 38.3 308 247 178
Starts By Region
 Northeast 105 92 124 22.1 96 80 68
 Midwest 219 171 195 79.5 149 128 103
 South 375 533 494 -10.5 467 400 309
 West 194 189 250 -4.9 217 175 132
Building Permits 963 1,005 1,059 2.7 964 829 624
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