Thursday, December 16, 2010

Housing Starts increase slightly in November

by Calculated Risk on 12/16/2010 08:57:00 AM

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

Total housing starts were at 555 thousand (SAAR) in November, up 3.9% from the revised October rate of 534 thousand, and up 16% from the all time record low in April 2009 of 477 thousand (the lowest level since the Census Bureau began tracking housing starts in 1959).

The increase this month was due to single-family starts, but the level is still very low. Single-family starts increased 6.9% to 465 thousand in November.

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 two years - with a slight up and down over the last six months 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 November were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 555,000. This is 3.9 percent (±12.0%)* above the revised October estimate of 534,000, but is 5.8 percent (±12.0%)* below the November 2009 rate of 589,000.

Single-family housing starts in November were at a rate of 465,000; this is 6.9 percent (±13.5%)* above the revised October figure of 435,000.

Building Permits:
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in November were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 530,000. This is 4.0 percent (±2.9%) below the revised October rate of 552,000 and is 14.7 percent(±1.7%) below the November 2009 estimate of 621,000.

Single-family authorizations in November were at a rate of 416,000; this is 3.0 percent (±1.0%) above the revised October figure of 404,000.
This was close to expectations of 550 thousand starts. The low level of starts is good news for housing, and I expect Starts to stay low until more of the excess inventory of existing homes is absorbed.