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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts Decline Sharply; Building Permits Rise
by Tom Moeller  November 18, 2015

Housing starts during October declined 11.0% to 1.060 million (AR) from 1.191 million in September, last month reported as 1.206 million. Starts were at their lowest level since March and 2.0% lower than one year earlier. The latest figure missed expectations for 1.16 million starts in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

Last month's fall in starts was led by a 25.1% decline (-10.4% y/y) in multi-family to 338,000, the lowest level since February. The falloff was paced by roughly 40.0% declines in the South and the West, offsetting gains in the Northeast and Midwest.

Single-family starts fell 2.4% to 722,000 (+2.9% y/y), the lowest level since June. The decline reflected a 6.9% drop in the South to 375,000 (-5.4% y/y). In all other sections of the country single-family starts rose m/m. In the Northeast, single-family starts increased 7.0% to 61,000 (14.0% y/y) and in the Midwest they rose 2.7% to 114,000 (15.5% y/y). Single-family starts nudged 1.8% higher (10.0% y/y) in the West to 172,000.  

Building permits during October increased 4.1% to 1,150,000 (-1.3% y/y) and recovered most of September's decline. Permits to build multi-family homes increased 6.8% (-8.4% y/y) while single-family permits gained 2.4% (3.9% y/y).

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

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

Housing Starts (000s, SAAR) Oct Sep Aug Oct Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Total 1,060 1,191 1,116 -2.0 1,001 928 784
 Single-Family 722 740 734 2.9 647 620 537
 Multi-Family 338 451 382 -10.4 354 308 247
Starts By Region
 Northeast 140 127 110 41.1 110 97 80
 Midwest 161 140 146 1.3 159 149 129
 South 506 622 615 -16.9 497 467 400
 West 253 302 245 15.9 236 217 175
Building Permits  1,150 1,105 1,161 -1.3 1,052 987 829

 

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