Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Single Family Housing Starts Lowest Since Jan '91

by Calculated Risk on 4/16/2008 08:44:00 AM

The Census Bureau reports on housing Permits, Starts and Completions.

Some key points:

Housing permits in March fell sharply to 927 thousand at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). This is the lowest since 1991.

Single family housing starts were at 680 thousand SAAR. This is also the lowest since Jan 1991.

Completions are still very high. Privately-owned housing completions in March were at 1.216 million (SAAR). Completions will probably fall to the level of starts - and this will impact construction employment.

Housing Starts Completions Click on graph for larger image.

Here is a long term graph of starts and completions. Completions follow starts by about 6 to 7 months.

Privately-owned housing starts in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 947,000. This is 11.9 percent below
the revised February estimate of 1,075,000 and is 36.5 percent below the revised March 2007 rate of 1,491,000.

Single-family housing starts in March were at a rate of 680,000; this is 5.7 percent below the February figure of 721,000.
Single Family Housing Starts and New Home Sales
The second graph shows Single family housing starts vs. New Home sales. Single family starts also include homes built directly by owners, in addition to homes built for sale (and some other minor differences).

This graph indicates the difference between single family starts and new home sales has narrowed recently, possibly indicating: 1) that fewer homes are being built by owners, and 2) that single family starts are now low enough to begin to reduce the inventory of new homes for sales.

Another very weak report.