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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts Decline As Single-Family Starts Ease
by Tom Moeller  February 18, 2015

Housing starts during January edged 2.0% lower to 1.065 million from 1.087 million in December, revised from 1.089 million. Still, starts remained near the highest level in roughly seven years. Earlier figures were revised slightly and the latest number roughly matched expectations for 1.067 million starts in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

Single-family starts fell 6.7% to 678,000 (+16.3 y/y) versus the cycle-high of 727,000 reached in December. The decline was countered by a 7.5% increase in multi-family starts to 387,000 (23.2 y/y).

Housing starts in the Midwest declined 22.2% (+125.8% y/y) to 140,000. Starts in Northeast followed with a 3.5% decline (-4.3% y/y) to 111,000. Starts in the West were off 3.4% to 286,000 (+21.7% y/y) but starts in the South gained 6.5% (9.1% y/y) to 528,000.

Building permits edged 0.7% lower (+8.1 y/y) to 1.053 million from 1.060 million. Single-family permits declined 3.1% (+5.8% y/y) to 654,000 but multi-family permits rose 3.6% (12.1 y/y) to 399,000.

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

The minutes of the latest FOMC meeting can be found here.

Housing Starts (000s, SAAR) Jan Dec Nov Jan Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Total 1,065 1,087 1,015 18.7 1,001 930 784
 Single-Family 678 727 674 16.3 646 621 537
 Multi-Family 387 360 341 23.2 355 309 247
Starts By Region
 Northeast 111 115 110 -4.3 110 97 80
 Midwest 140 180 175 125.8 160 149 129
 South 528 496 454 9.1 496 467 400
 West 286 296 276 21.7 236 217 175
Building Permits 1,053 1,060 1,060 8.1 1,033 990 829
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