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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts Increase
by Tom Moeller  November 20, 2018

Total housing starts rose 1.5% (-2.9% y/y) during October to 1.228 million units (AR) from 1.210 million in September, revised from 1.201 million. The rise matched expectations for 1.228 million starts in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

A 10.3% rise (-3.7% y/y) in starts of multi-family units to 363,000 accounted for last month's rise in the total. It followed a 15.6% decline. Starts of single-family units fell 1.8% (-2.6% y/y) to 865,000, down for the second straight month.

Last month's increase reflected a one-third improvement (5.0% y/y) in the Midwest to 210,000 units from 158,000. Starts in the South rose 4.7% (-3.4% y/y) to 596,000 from 569,000. Countering these increases was a 34.1% decline in the Northeast to 87,000 (-40.0% y/y), which more-than-reversed the rise during September. Housing starts in the West fell 4.6% (+10.6% y/y) to 335,000 as it countered the prior month's increase.

Building permits slipped 0.6% (-6.0% y/y) to 1.263 million from 1.270 million after a 1.7% increase. Single-family permits eased 0.6% both m/m and y/y to 849,000. Permits to build multi-family homes slipped 0.5% (-15.3% y/y) to 414,000, the lowest level since March 2016.

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) Oct Sep Aug Oct Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Total 1,228 1,210 1,280 -2.9 1,208 1,177 1,107
 Single-Family 865 881 890 -2.6 852 785 713
 Multi-Family  363 329 390 -3.7 356 393 394
Starts By Region
 Northeast 87 132 99 18.8 111 116 135
 Midwest 210 158 187 5.0 180 185 150
 South 596 569 657 -3.4 603 585 557
 West 335 351 337 10.6 314 292 265
Building Permits 1,263 1,270 1,249 -6.0 1,286 1,206 1,178
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