Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Housing Starts decreased to 1.599 Million Annual Rate in February

by Calculated Risk on 3/18/2020 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 1,599,000. This is 1.5 percent below the revised January estimate of 1,624,000, but is 39.2 percent above the February 2019 rate of 1,149,000. Single‐family housing starts in February were at a rate of 1,072,000; this is 6.7 percent above the revised January figure of 1,005,000. The February rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 508,000.

Building Permits:
Privately‐owned housing units authorized by building permits in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,464,000. This is 5.5 percent below the revised January rate of 1,550,000, but is 13.8 percent above the February 2019 rate of 1,287,000. Single‐family authorizations in February were at a rate of 1,004,000; this is 1.7 percent above the revised January figure of 987,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 415,000 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) were down in February compared to January.   Multi-family starts were up 47.6% year-over-year in February.

Multi-family is volatile month-to-month, and  had been mostly moving sideways the last several years - but increased sharply recently.

Single-family starts (blue) increased in February, and were up 35.4% 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 eventual recovery (but still historically low).

Total housing starts in February were well above expectations and revisions were positive.

I'll have more later …