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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts Recover to 11-Year High
by Tom Moeller  June 19, 2018

Total housing starts rose 5.0% (20.3% y/y) during May to 1.350 million units (SAAR) from 1.286 million in April, revised from 1.287 million. It was the highest level of starts since July 2007. A level of 1.305 million starts had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

Starts of single-family homes improved 3.9% last month (18.3% y/y) to 936,000, following a 2.2% April rise to 901,000. Starts of multi-family units rebounded 7.5% to 414,000 units after a 13.5% decline to 385,000 units.

The rise in starts last month was dominated by the Midwest where housing starts surged by roughly two-thirds both m/m and y/y to 266,000. That followed a 9.9% April decline. Elsewhere around the country housing starts fell. Housing starts in the Northeast were off 15.0% (+20.0% y/y) to 102,000, the lowest level since December. Starts in the West fell 4.1% (+4.8% y/y) to 329,000, the lowest level since September. Starts in the South eased 0.9% (+16.8% y/y) to 653,000 after a 4.6% gain.

Building permits declined 4.6% (+8.0% y/y) to 1.301 million units following a 0.9% April fall. Single-family permits were off 2.2% (+7.7% y/y) to 844,000 after a 1.4% rise. Permits to build multi-family homes fell 8.8% (+8.6% y/y) to 457,000, after declining 4.8%.

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) May Apr Mar May Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Total 1,350 1,286 1,327 20.3 1,203 1,174 1,112
 Single-Family 936 901 882 18.3 859 782 715
 Multi-Family  414 385 445 25.1 354 392 397
Starts By Region
 Northeast 102 120 120 20.0 111 116 138
 Midwest 266 164 182 62.2 180 182 153
 South 653 659 630 16.8 599 585 556
 West 329 343 395 4.8 313 291 265
Building Permits 1,301 1,364 1,377 8.0 1,282 1,207 1,183
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