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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts Fall Again
by Tom Moeller  February 17, 2016

Housing starts during January declined 3.8% (+1.8% y/y) to 1.099 million (AR) from 1.143 million, revised from 1.149 million. The shortfall followed a 2.8% drop in December. The latest figure disappointed expectations for 1.17 million starts in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

Single-family starts fell 3.9% (+3.5% y/y) to 731,000, the lowest level since October. Starts of multi-family units declined 3.7% (-1.6% y/y) to 368,000.

By region, starts in the Midwest fell 12.8% (-6.2% y/y) to 136,000, the lowest level since February. In the Northeast, starts declined 3.7% (+44.4% y/y) to 156,000 following a 26.6% increase. Starts in the South fell 2.9% (+4.9% y/y) to 560,000 after a 5.7% drop, while starts in the West eased 0.4% (-15.7% y/y) to 247,000, down for the third month in four.

Building permits ticked 0.2% lower to 1.202 million (+13.5% y/y) from 1.204 million. Permits to build single-family units fell 1.6% (+9.6% y/y) to 720,000, but multi-family permits increased 2.1% (19.9% y/y) to 482,000.

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

Lessons from the Crisis: Ending Too Big to Fail is the title of yesterday's speech by Neel Kashkari, President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, and it is available here.

Housing Starts (000s, SAAR) Jan Dec Nov Jan Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Total 1,099 1,143 1,176 1.8 1,107 1,001 928
 Single-Family 731 761 786 3.5 715 648 618
 Multi-Family 368 382 390 -1.6 396 356 307
Starts By Region
 Northeast 156 162 128 44.4 139 110 97
 Midwest 136 156 168 -6.2 152 163 150
 South 560 577 612 4.9 554 496 464
 West 247 248 268 -15.7 266 235 215
Building Permits 1,202 1,204 1,282 13.5 1,173 1,052 991
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