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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts Near Eight-Year High; Permits Backpedal
by Tom Moeller  August 18, 2015

Housing starts during July edged up 0.2% (11.2% y/y) to 1.206 million (AR) during July from 1.204 million in June, last month reported as 1.174 million. The latest level was the highest figure since October 2007. July's figure exceeded expectations for 1.18 million starts in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

Single-family starts jumped 12.8% (20.9% y/y) to 782,000 from 693,000. Multi-family starts backpedaled 17.0% (-3.8% y/y) and reversed much of June's jump to 511,000.

Housing starts were mixed m/m throughout the country. Activity in the Midwest improved 20.1% (12.6% y/y) to 179,000, the highest level since August. In the South, starts rose 7.7% (12.7% y/y) to 589,000, a nine month high. Starts in the Northeast fell roughly one quarter (+15.6% y/y) to 161,000 and starts in the West were off 3.1% (+5.6% y/y) to 277,000.

Permits to build housing units reversed three months of increase with a 16.3% decline to 1.119 million units (3.9% y/y). Multi-family permits were off nearly one-third to 440,000 (+0.3% y/y) and single-family permits fell 1.9% to 679,000 (+6.1% y/y).

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 % 2014 2013 2012
Total 1,206 1,204 1,072 11.2 1,001 928 784
 Single-Family 782 693 697 20.9 647 620 537
 Multi-Family 424 511 375 -3.8 354 308 247
Starts By Region
 Northeast 161 222 143 15.6 110 97 80
 Midwest 179 149 147 12.6 159 149 129
 South 589 547 511 12.7 497 467 400
 West 277 286 271 5.6 236 217 175
Building Permits 1,119 1,337 1,250 3.9 1,052 987 829
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