Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Housing Starts increase in September

by Bill McBride on 10/19/2010 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 610 thousand (SAAR) in September, up 0.3% from the revised August rate of 608 thousand (revised up from 598 thousand), and up 28% 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).

There has been an increase in multi-family starts over the last two months, although single family starts are significantly below the levels of earlier this year.

Single-family starts increased 4.4% to 452 thousand in August. This is 25% 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 almost two years - with a slight up and down over the last six 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 September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 610,000. This is 0.3 percent (±10.3%)* above the revised August estimate of 608,000 and is 4.1 percent (±12.0%)* above theSeptember 2009 rate of 586,000.

Single-family housing starts in September were at a rate of 452,000; this is 4.4 percent (±13.9%)* above the revised August figure of 433,000.

Building Permits:
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 539,000. This is 5.6 percent (±1.4%) below the revised August rate of 571,000 and is 10.9 percent (±2.3%) below the September 2009 estimate of 605,000.

Single-family authorizations in September were at a rate of 405,000; this is 0.5 percent (±1.3%)* above the revised August figure of 403,000.
This was above expectations of 580 thousand starts, 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.