Friday, October 17, 2008

Single Family Starts Lowest Since 1982

by Bill McBride on 10/17/2008 08:30:00 AM

Single-family starts were at 544 thousand in September; the lowest level since February 1982. Single-family permits were at 532 thousand in September, suggesting single family starts will fall even further next month. (Graph when I return home)

Here is the Census Bureau reports on housing Permits, Starts and Completions.

Building permits decreased:

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 786,000. This is 8.3 percent (±1.6%) below the revised August rate of 857,000 and is 38.4 percent (±1.6%) below the revised September 2007 estimate of 1,277,000.

Single-family authorizations in September were at a rate of 532,000; this is 3.8 percent (±1.6%) below the August figure of 553,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 225,000 in September.
The declines in single family permits suggest further declines in starts next month.

On housing starts:
Privately-owned housing starts in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 817,000. This is 6.3 percent (±12.0%)* below the revised August estimate of 872,000 and is 31.1 percent (±8.3%) below the revised September 2007 rate of 1,185,000.

Single-family housing starts in September were at a rate of 544,000; this is 12.0 percent (±8.3%) below the August figure of 618,000. The September rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 254,000.
And on completions:
Privately-owned housing completions in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,097,000. This is 11.7 percent
(±14.0%)* above the revised August estimate of 982,000, but is 20.4 percent (±9.6%) below the revised September 2007 rate of
1,378,000.
Single-family housing completions in September were at a rate of 806,000; this is 17.0 percent (±11.5%) above the August figure of
689,000. The September rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 260,000.
Notice that single-family completions are significantly higher than single-family starts. This is important because residential construction employment tends to follow completions, and completions will decline sharply soon.