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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts Rebound M/M; Building Permits Reach Five-Month High
by Tom Moeller  December 16, 2015

Housing starts during November recovered 10.5% to 1.173 million (SAAR) from 1.062 million in October, last month reported as 1.060 million. Starts were 18.5% higher than one year earlier. The latest figure surpassed expectations for 1.133 million starts in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

Single-family starts increased 7.6% (14.6% y/y) to 768,000, the highest level since June. A 15.1% rise (-7.3% y/y) in the West paced the gain followed by the South where single-family starts rose 8.8% (13.3% y/y). In the Northeast, single-family starts increased 1.7% (9.1% y/y) but they declined 4.4% in the Midwest (-0.9% y/y).

Starts of multi-family homes jumped 16.4% last month (20.2% y/y) to 405,000 and recovered roughly half of the prior month's decline. Multi-family starts in the South rebounded 57.3% m/m and more than doubled y/y. In the Midwest, multi-family starts increased 8.2% (4.8% y/y) but in the West they fell 13.7%, off by more than one-half y/y. In the Northeast, starts of multi-family home declined 15.7% (+34.6% y/y).

Building permits in November increased 11.0% (19.5% y/y) to 1.289 million following a 5.1% gain. A 26.9% rise (36.1% y/y) in multi-family permits led the advance. Single-family building permits edged 1.1% higher (9.0% 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) Nov Oct Sep Nov Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Total 1,173 1,062 1,207 16.5 1,001 928 784
 Single-Family 768 714 741 14.6 647 620 537
 Multi-Family 405 348 466 20.2 354 308 247
Starts By Region
 Northeast 130 142 130 21.5 110 97 80
 Midwest 174 174 137 1.2 159 149 129
 South 615 507 638 35.5 497 467 400
 West 254 239 302 -7.3 236 217 175
Building Permits 1,289 1,161 1,105 19.5 1,052 987 829
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