Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Housing Starts at Record Low in April

by Bill McBride on 5/19/2009 08:30:00 AM

Total Housing Starts and Single Family Housing Starts Click on graph for larger image in new window.

Total housing starts were at 458 thousand (SAAR) in April, the all time record low. The previous record low was 488 thousand in January (the lowest level since the Census Bureau began tracking housing starts in 1959).

Single-family starts were at 368 thousand (SAAR) in April; just above the revised record low in January (357 thousand).

Permits for single-family units were 373 thousand in April, suggesting single-family starts will remain at about the same level in May.

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

Note that single-family completions of 549 thousand are still significantly higher than single-family starts (368 thousand). This is important because residential construction employment tends to follow completions, and completions will probably decline further.

It is still too early to call the bottom for single family starts in January, however I do expect housing starts to bottom sometime in 2009.

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