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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Activity Improves; Single-Family Starts Rise to Ten-Year High
by Tom Moeller  December 19, 2017

Total housing starts rose 3.3% (12.1% y/y) during November to 1.297 million units (SAAR) from 1.256 million in October, revised from 1.290 million. The latest level was the highest since October 2016. A level of 1.250 million starts had been expected in the Action Economic Forecast Survey.

Starts of single-family homes rose 5.3% (12.0% y/y) to 930,000, the highest level since September 2007. Multi-family starts declined 1.6% (+12.1% y/y) to 367,000, but September's level was revised lower to 373,000.

Movement in starts last month varied greatly around the country. Housing starts in the West increased 19.0% to 344,000, the highest level since December. Starts in the South gained 11.1% to 691,000, the highest level since August 2007. Elsewhere, starts declined m/m. Starts in the Northeast fell by 39.6% to the lowest level in six months. In the Midwest, starts eased 12.9% to the lowest level in three months.

Building permits declined 1.4% (+2.1% y/y) to 1.298 million after a 7.3% October rise. Single-family permits rose 1.4% (10.4% y/y) to 862,000, also a ten-year high. Permits to build multi-family homes fell 6.4% (-9.8% y/y) to 436,000, after rising 15.9%.

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) Nov Oct Sep Nov Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Total 1,297 1,256 1,159 12.1 1,177 1,107 1,001
 Single-Family 930 883 832 12.0 784 712 647
 Multi-Family  367 373 327 12.1 393 395 355
Starts By Region
 Northeast 87 144 101 2.9 116 136 109
 Midwest 175 201 187 -19.0 185 150 159
 South 691 622 543 17.7 584 556 497
 West 344 289 328 29.1 292 265 236
Building Permits 1,298 1,316 1,225 2.1 1,207 1,178 1,053
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