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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts & Building Permits Decline
by Tom Moeller  August 16, 2017

Total housing starts fell 4.8% to 1.155 million units (AR, -5.4% y/y) during July. That reversed most of June's rise to 1.213 million units, revised from 1.215 million. Starts of 1.220 million had been expected in the Action Economic Forecast Survey.

Last month's decline was led by a 15.3% drop in multi-family starts to 299,000 (-34.5% y/y). Single-family starts eased 0.5% to 856,000 (+11.7% y/y).

By region, starts in the Northeast declined 15.7% (-3.1% y/y) to 129,000 led by 32.6% fewer multi-family starts. In the Midwest, starts declined 15.2% (+14.0% y/y) to 179,000, also led by a 29.3% drop in multi-family starts. Starts in the West eased 1.6% (+7.0% y/y) to 315,000, where multi-family starts rose 3.6%. Starts in the South improved 0.6% to 532,000 (-17.0% y/y), though multi-family starts fell 7.9%.

Building permits declined 4.1% (+2.6% y/y) to 1.223 million from 1.275 million in June. Permits to build single-family homes held steady at 811,000 (+12.9% y/y), while multi-family permits fell 11.2% (-14.7% y/y) to 412,000.

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) Jul Jun May Jul Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Total 1,155 1,213 1,129 -5.4 1,17 1,107 1,001
 Single-Family 856 860 795 11.7 784 712 647
 Multi-Family  299 353 334 -34.5 393 395 355
Starts By Region
 Northeast 129 153 85 -3.1 116 136 109
 Midwest 179 211 165 14.0 185 150 159
 South 532 529 564 -17.0 584 556 497
 West 315 320 315 7.0 292 265 236
Building Permits 1,223 1,275 1,168 2.6 1,207 1,178 1,053
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