Friday, March 16, 2018

Housing Starts decreased to 1.236 Million Annual Rate in February

by Bill McBride on 3/16/2018 08:38:00 AM

From the Census Bureau: Permits, Starts and Completions

Housing Starts:
Privately-owned housing starts in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,236,000. This is 7.0 percent below the revised January estimate of 1,329,000 and is 4.0 percent below the February 2017 rate of 1,288,000. Single-family housing starts in February were at a rate of 902,000; this is 2.9 percent above the revised January figure of 877,000. The February rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 317,000.

Building Permits:
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,298,000. This is 5.7 percent below the revised January rate of 1,377,000, but is 6.5 percent above the February 2017 rate of 1,219,000. Single-family authorizations in February were at a rate of 872,000; this is 0.6 percent below the revised January figure of 877,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 385,000 in February.
emphasis added
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 sharply in February compared to January.   Multi-family starts were down 18.7% year-over-year in February.

Multi-family is volatile month-to-month, but has been mostly moving sideways the last few years.

Single-family starts (blue) increased in February, and are up 2.9% year-over-year.

Total Housing Starts and Single Family Housing Starts The second graph shows total and single unit starts since 1968.

 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 fairly low).

Total housing starts in February were below expectations, mostly due to a sharp decrease in multi-family starts (the reverse of January).  Starts for December and January were revised slightly.

I'll have more later ...