Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Single Family Housing Starts increase slightly in August

by Bill McBride on 9/21/2010 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 598 thousand (SAAR) in August, up 10.5% from the revised July rate of 541 thousand (revised down from 546 thousand), and up 25% 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 increased 4.3% to 438 thousand in August. This is 22% 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 August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 598,000. This is 10.5 percent (±11.9%)* above the revised July estimate of 541,000 and is 2.2 percent (±9.7%)* above the August 2009 rate of 585,000.

Single-family housing starts in August were at a rate of 438,000; this is 4.3 percent (±12.4%)* above the revised July figure of 420,000.

Building Permits:
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 569,000. This is 1.8 percent (±2.0%)* above the revised July rate of 559,000, but is 6.7 percent (±1.4%) below the August 2009 estimate of 610,000.

Single-family authorizations in August were at a rate of 401,000; this is 1.2 percent (±1.0%) below the revised July figure of 406,000.
This was above expectations of 550 thousand, mostly because of the volatile multi-family starts. As I've mentioned many times - this low level of starts 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.