Thursday, April 16, 2015

Housing Starts at 926 thousand Annual Rate in March

by Bill McBride on 4/16/2015 08:39:00 AM

From the Census Bureau: Permits, Starts and Completions

Housing Starts:
Privately-owned housing starts in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 926,000. This is 2.0 percent above the revised February estimate of 908,000, but is 2.5 percent below the March 2014 rate of 950,000.

Single-family housing starts in March were at a rate of 618,000; this is 4.4 percent above the revised February figure of 592,000. The March rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 287,000.
emphasis added

Building Permits:
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,039,000. This is 5.7 percent below the revised February rate of 1,102,000, but is 2.9 percent above the March 2014 estimate of 1,010,000.

Single-family authorizations in March were at a rate of 636,000; this is 2.1 percent above the revised February figure of 623,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 378,000 in March.
Total Housing Starts and Single Family Housing Starts Click on graph for larger image.

The first graph shows single and multi-family housing starts for the last several years.

Multi-family starts (red, 2+ units) decreased in March.  Multi-family starts are down 2.5% year-over-year.

Single-family starts (blue) increased in March and are also down about 2.5% year-over-year.

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

Total Housing Starts and Single Family Housing Starts The second graph shows the huge collapse following the housing bubble, and then - after moving sideways for a couple of years - housing is now recovering (but still historically low),

This was well below expectations of 1.040 million starts in March.  Overall this was another weak report, although permits were decent.  I'll have more later ...