Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Single Family Housing Starts Lowest Since Jan 1991

by Bill McBride on 3/18/2008 08:39:00 AM

The Census Bureau reports on housing Permits, Starts and Completions.

Some key points on permits:

Housing permits in February were below 1 million Seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). This is the lowest since 1991.

Single family housing permits were at 639 thousand SAAR. This is also the lowest since 1991.

Housing Starts Completions Click on graph for larger image.

Here is a long term graph of starts and completions. Completions follow starts by about 6 to 7 months.

Privately-owned housing starts in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,065,000. This is 0.6 percent below the revised January estimate of 1,071,000 and is 28.4 percent below the revised February 2007 rate of 1,487,000.

Single-family housing starts in February were at a rate of 707,000; this is 6.7 percent below the January figure of 758,000.
Single Family Housing Starts and New Home Sales
The second graph shows Single family housing starts vs. New Home sales. Single family starts also include homes built directly by owners, in addition to homes built for sale (and some other minor differences).

This graph indicates the difference between single family starts and new home sales has narrowed recently, possibly indicating: 1) that fewer homes are being built by owners, and 2) that single family starts are now low enough to begin to reduce the inventory of new homes for sales.

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