Thursday, January 19, 2012

Housing Starts decline in December

by Bill McBride on 1/19/2012 08:55:00 AM

From the Census Bureau: Permits, Starts and Completions

Housing Starts:
Privately-owned housing starts in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 657,000. This is 4.1 percent below the revised November estimate of 685,000, but is 24.9 percent (±18.3%) above the December 2010 rate of 526,000.

Single-family housing starts in December were at a rate of 470,000; this is 4.4 percent above the revised November figure of 450,000. The December rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 164,000.

An estimated 606,900 housing units were started in 2011. This is 3.4 percent above the 2010 figure of 586,900.

Building Permits:
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 679,000. This is 0.1 percent below the revised November rate of 680,000, but is 7.8 percent above the December 2010 estimate of 630,000.

Single-family authorizations in December were at a rate of 444,000; this is 1.8 percent above the revised November figure of 436,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 209,000 in December.
Total Housing Starts and Single Family Housing Starts Click on graph for larger image.

Total housing starts were at 657 thousand (SAAR) in December, down 4.1% from the November rate of 685 thousand (SAAR). The decline in December was related to the volatile multifamily sector. Most of the increase this year has been for multi-family starts, but single family starts have been increasing recently too.

Single-family starts increased 4.4% to 470 thousand in December - the highest level in 2011, and the highest since the expiration of the tax credit.

The second graph shows total and single unit starts since 1968.

Total Housing Starts and Single Family Housing Starts This shows the huge collapse following the housing bubble, and that total housing starts have been increasing a little lately, but have mostly moved sideways for about two years and a half years..

Multi-family starts increased in 2011 - although from a very low level. Single family starts appear to be increasing lately, but are still mostly "moving sideways".

This was below expectations of 680 thousand starts in December. I'll have more on housing starts and completions later.

All Housing Investment and Construction Graphs