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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts Improve Further
by Tom Moeller  August 16, 2016

Housing starts increased 2.1% during July to 1.211 million units (SAAR) from 1.186 million in June, revised from 1.189 million. It was the highest level since February and 5.6% higher than one year earlier. Expectations were for 1.18 million starts in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

Starts of single-family homes gained 0.5% (1.3% y/y) to 770,000 following a 3.9% rise. Multi-family starts, which include apartments & condominiums, increased 5.0% (14.0% y/y) to 441,000, the third rise in four months.

By region, starts were generally improved last month. In the Northeast, starts increased 15.5% (-15.7% y/y) to the highest level since March. Starts in the South rose 3.5% (11.1% y/y) to the strongest point since September. Starts in the Midwest improved 2.3% (2.3% y/y) after sharp declines in three of the prior four months. To the downside, starts in the West were off 5.9% (+9.1% y/y) following strong increases in the prior two months.

Permits to build a new home were little changed last month (+0.9% y/y) at 1.152 million following a 1.5% rise. Permits to build single-family homes decreased 3.7% (+2.4% y/y) while multi-family permits increased 6.3% (-1.6% y/y).

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 % 2015 2014 2013
Total 1,211 1,186 1,128 5.6 1,107 1,001 928
 Single-Family 770 766 737 1.3 713 648 618
 Multi-Family 441 420 391 14.0 395 356 307
Starts By Region
 Northeast 134 116 81 -15.7 136 110 97
 Midwest 175 171 191 2.3 151 163 150
 South 613 592 587 11.1 555 496 464
 West 289 307 269 9.1 265 235 215
Building Permits 1,152 1,153 1,136 0.9 1,164 1,052 991
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