Housing Starts Hit 8-Year High


New-home construction accelerated in July, but the pace of multifamily homebuilding was not a contributor.

New-home construction hit a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.206 million units in July, the highest level seen since October 2007, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday (Aug. 18).

Construction starts for single-family homes rose 12.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 782,000 units. Construction starts for multifamily housing, which accounts for only about 30 percent of the housing market, fell 17 percent to an annual rate of 424,000 units.

Return to Trend

“This month’s drop in the more volatile multifamily side is a return to trend after an unusually high June,” the National Association of Home Builders’ Chief Economist David Crowe said in a statement. Multifamily starts had surged 29.4 percent in June.

“While multifamily production has fully recovered from the downturn, single-family starts are improving at a slow and sometimes intermittent rate as consumer confidence gradually rebounds,” Crowe added.

“Continued job and economic growth will keep single-family housing moving forward.”  

©iStock.com / mikkean

Single-family permits dipped 1.9 percent to rate of 679,000 while multifamily dropped 31.8 percent to 440,000.

By region, housing starts rose by 20.1 percent in the Midwest and 7.7 percent in the South. The Northeast and West posted losses of 27.5 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively.

Permits Down

Building permits, an indicator of future construction, fell more than 16 percent in July, the largest monthly dip since July 2008. However, the rate is still 7.5 percent above the July 2014 estimates.

Single-family permits dipped 1.9 percent to rate of 679,000 while multifamily dropped 31.8 percent to 440,000.

The Northeast, Midwest, South and West posted permit losses in July, ranging from 1.7 percent (South) and 60.2 percent (Northeast).

Reports say the expiration of tax incentives in New York City may have fueled the sharp decrease seen in that region.

Still, despite the mixed picture, economists report that the housing report signifies a strong start to the third quarter.


Tagged categories: Contractors; Department of Commerce; Government; Home builders; Housing; Housing starts; Maintenance + Renovation; National Association of Home Builders (NAHB); North America; Residential Construction

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