Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Housing Starts Decline in December

by Calculated Risk on 1/19/2011 08:30:00 AM

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

Total housing starts were at 529 thousand (SAAR) in December, down 4.3% from the revised November rate of 553 thousand, and up 11% 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).

Single-family starts decreased 9.0% to 417 thousand in December - the lowest level since early 2009.

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 ups and downs due to the home buyer tax credit.

There was an increase in permits, especially for multi-family units.

Here is the Census Bureau report on housing Permits, Starts and Completions.

Housing Starts:
Privately-owned housing starts in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 529,000. This is 4.3 percent (±14.1%)* below the revised November estimate of 553,000 and is 8.2 percent (±14.4%)* below the December 2009 rate of 576,000.

Single-family housing starts in December were at a rate of 417,000; this is 9.0 percent (±11.7%)* below the revised November figure of 458,000.

Building Permits:
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 635,000. This is 16.7 percent (±2.1%) above the revised November rate of 544,000, but is 6.8 percent(±2.8%) below the December 2009 estimate of 681,000.

Single-family authorizations in December were at a rate of 440,000; this is 5.5 percent (±2.3%) above the revised November figure of 417,000.
This was below 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. But I do expect starts to increase in 2011 from this low level.