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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts & Building Permits Increase
by Tom Moeller  February 16, 2018

Total housing starts increased 9.7% (7.3% y/y) during January to 1.326 million (AR) from 1.209 million in December, revised from 1.192 million. It was the highest level of starts since October 2016. A level of 1.227 million starts had been expected in the Action Economic Forecast Survey.

Starts of single-family homes improved 3.7% (7.6% y/y) to 877,000 from 846,000. Multi-family starts jumped 23.7% (6.7% y/y) to 449,000 from 363,000.

Movement in starts last month varied around the country. Housing starts in the West gained 10.7% to 393,000, the highest level since December 2006. Starts in the South increased 9.3% to 655,000 after an 11.3% fall. Starts in the Northeast jumped 45.3% to 128,000, the highest level in three months. In the Midwest, starts declined 10.2% to 150,000, the lowest level since March of last year.

Building permits increased 7.4% both m/m and y/y to 1.396 million after a 0.2% December dip. Single-family permits declined 1.7% (+7.4% y/y) to 866,00 and reversed December's gain. Permits to build multi-family homes jumped 26.5% (+7.3% y/y) to 530,000, after falling 4.3%.

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

Housing Starts (000s, SAAR) Jan Dec Nov Jan Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Total 1,326 1,209 1,299 7.3 1,203 1,174 1,112
 Single-Family 877 846 946 7.6 849 782 715
 Multi-Family  449 363 353 6.7 354 392 397
Starts By Region
 Northeast 128 88 93 2.4 112 116 138
 Midwest 150 167 179 -25.7 179 182 153
 South 655 599 675 -3.4 599 585 556
 West 393 355 352 70.1 313 291 265
Building Permits 1,396 1,300 1,303 7.4 1,254 1,207 1,183
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