Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Housing Starts increase in March

by Bill McBride on 4/19/2011 08:30:00 AM

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

Total housing starts were at 549 thousand (SAAR) in March, up 7.2% from the revised February rate of 512 thousand (revised up from 479 thousand).

Single-family starts increased 7.7% to 422 thousand in March (February was revised up to 392 thousand from 375 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 two years - with slight ups and downs 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 March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 549,000. This is 7.2 percent (±18.0%)* above the revised February estimate of 512,000, but is 13.4 percent (±9.1%) below the March 2010 rate of 634,000.

Single-family housing starts in March were at a rate of 422,000; this is 7.7 percent (±15.0%)* above the revised February figure of 392,000. The March rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 117,000.

Building Permits:
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 594,000. This is 11.2 percent (±2.6%) above the revised February rate of 534,000, but is 13.3 percent (±1.3%) below the March 2010 estimate of 685,000.

Single-family authorizations in March were at a rate of 405,000; this is 5.7 percent (±1.1%) above the revised February figure of 383,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 173,000 in March.
This was above expectations of 525 thousand starts, and there was probably some weather related bounce back in March.

I expect starts to stay low until more of the excess inventory of existing homes is absorbed. I'll have more on starts later.