Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Single Family Housing Starts decline in July

by Bill McBride on 8/17/2010 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 546 thousand (SAAR) in July, up 1.7% from the revised June rate of 537 thousand (revised down from 549 thousand), and up 14% from the all time record low in April 2009 of 477 thousand (the lowest level since the Census Bureau began tracking housing starts in 1959).

Single-family starts declined 4.2% to 432 thousand in July. This is 20% above the record low in January 2009 (360 thousand).

Total Housing Starts and Single Family Housing StartsThe second graph shows total and single unit starts since 1968. This shows the huge collapse following the housing bubble, and that housing starts have mostly been moving sideways for over a year - with a slight up and down over the last several months due to the home buyer tax credit.

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

Housing Starts:
Privately-owned housing starts in July were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 546,000. This is 1.7 percent (±9.7%)* above the 9.7%) revised June estimate of 537,000, but is 7.0 percent (±7.5%)* below the July 2009 rate of 587,000.

Single-family housing starts in July were at a rate of 432,000; this is 4.2 percent (±8.7%)* below the revised June figure of 451,000.

Building Permits:
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in July were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 565,000. This is 3.1 percent (±2.0%) below the revised June rate of 583,000 and is 3.7 percent (±2.2%) below the July 2009 estimate of 587,000.

Single-family authorizations in July were at a rate of 416,000; this is 1.2 percent (±1.2%)* below the revised June figure of 421,000.
This was below expectations of 565 thousand, and is good news for the housing market longer term (there are too many housing units already), but bad news for the economy and employment short term.