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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts Weaken to 12-Month Low
by Tom Moeller  October 18, 2017

Total housing starts declined 4.7% (+6.1%  y/y) during September to 1.127 million units from 1.183 million in August, revised from 1.180 million units. It was the lowest level since September 2016. Starts of 1.183 million had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

Single-family starts fell 4.6% (-7.2% y/y) to 829,000 from 869,000, the lowest level since May. Starts of multi-family units declined 5.1% (+12.0% y/y) to 298,000, a twelve-month low.

By region, starts in the Midwest declined 20.2% (-12.2% y/y) to 154,000, a six-month low. Starts in the South were off 9.3% (-8.5% y/y) to 527,000, the lowest level since October 2015. Declines here have lowered the level of starts by roughly one-quarter since the January peak. Starts in the Northeast declined 9.2% (-6.2% y/y) for the second consecutive month to 99,000, the lowest level since May. Starts in the West improved 15.7% (17.2% y/y) to 347,000, a nine-month high.

Building permits decreased 4.5% (-10.0% y/y) to 1.215 million from 1.272 million in August. Permits to build single-family homes increased 2.4% to 819,000 (4.6% y/y), while multi-family permits were off 16.1% (-9.2% y/y) to 396,000.

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) Sep Aug Jul Sep Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Total 1,127 1,183 1,185 6.1 1,177 1,107 1,001
 Single-Family 829 869 841 -7.2 784 712 647
 Multi-Family  298 314 344 12.0 393 395 355
Starts By Region
 Northeast 99 109 120 -6.2 116 136 109
 Midwest 154 193 161 -12.2 185 150 159
 South 527 581 611 -8.5 584 556 497
 West 347 300 293 17.2 292 265 236
Building Permits 1,215 1,272 1,230 -10.0 1,207 1,178 1,053
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