Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Housing Starts Improved Modestly in August

New residential construction improved slightly in August, reaching an annual rate of 891,000 units, up from July’s revised down value of 883,000. Housing starts are 19% above year ago levels, but still below the one-million yearly unit pace seen in March.

Unlike in previous months, August’s increase was driven by growth in single-family construction. Single family construction grew 7.0%, coming off a previous month of decline and settling at an annual pace of 628,000 units. It is still below the post-recession peak of 650,000 in February. Multifamily construction decreased in August to an annual pace of 263,000, following a 22.3% surge the previous month.

The details of the report were mixed. Housing permits declined 3%, driven down solely by the multifamily permit issuance. Single-family permits rose by 3%. The prediction last month that the single-family sector is poised for strong gains seems to be panning out. Completions barely rose in August, increasing a mere 0.3%.

Read the Census report.

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