Haver Analytics
Haver Analytics
| Sep 19 2023

U.S. Housing Starts Fall Sharply in August; Building Permits Increase

  • Multi-family starts plunge while single-family starts weaken.
  • Drop in starts is uneven across the country.
  • Permits rise sharply for multi-family units.

Total housing starts declined 11.3% (-14.8% y/y) during August to 1.283 million (SAAR) after rising 2.0% in July to 1.447 million, revised from 1.452 million. Starts were 28.8% below the most recent peak of 1.803 million in April 2022 and stand at the lowest level since June 2020. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 1.430 million starts In August.

Starts of single-family homes fell 4.3% in August (+2.4% y/y) to 941,000 from an unrevised 983,000 in July. Starts of multi-family units dove 26.3% (-41.6% y/y) to 342,000 from 464,000 in July, revised from 469,000. Multi-family starts moved to their lowest level since May 2020.

Starts in the West declined 28.9% (-20.2% y/y) in August to 281,000 after rising 16.2% in July. Starts in the Midwest weakened 7.5% (-12.1% y/y) last month to 160,000 after rising 3.6% in July. Housing starts in the South fell 4.9% (-6.1% y/y) to 745,000, the third consecutive monthly decline. In the Northeast, starts improved 1.0% (-45.5% y/y) to 97,000 after falling 2.0% in July.

Building permits rose 6.9% (-2.7% y/y) in August to 1.543 million after nudging 0.1% higher in July to 1.443 million in July, revised from 1.442 million. Single-family permits rose 2.0% (7.2% y/y) to 949,000 after increasing 0.6% in July. Multi-family permits jumped 15.8% last month (-15.3% y/y) to 594,000 after a 0.8% July weakening.

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

  • Prior to joining Haver Analytics in 2000, Mr. Moeller worked as the Economist at Chancellor Capital Management from 1985 to 1999. There, he developed comprehensive economic forecasts and interpreted economic data for equity and fixed income portfolio managers. Also at Chancellor, Mr. Moeller worked as an equity analyst and was responsible for researching and rating companies in the economically sensitive automobile and housing industries for investment in Chancellor’s equity portfolio.   Prior to joining Chancellor, Mr. Moeller was an Economist at Citibank from 1979 to 1984.   He also analyzed pricing behavior in the metals industry for the Council on Wage and Price Stability in Washington, D.C.   In 1999, Mr. Moeller received the award for most accurate forecast from the Forecasters' Club of New York. From 1990 to 1992 he was President of the New York Association for Business Economists.   Mr. Moeller earned an M.B.A. in Finance from Fordham University, where he graduated in 1987. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from George Washington University.

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