August Residential Construction Numbers Disappoint

September 20, 2011 (Chris Moore)

Construction of new residential housing remained in the doldrums in August as both single-family and multi-family construction activity posted monthly declines according to the latest data released by the Census Bureau.

Privately owned housing starts declined by 5.0 percent in August compared to July with a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 571,000 starts reported in August compared to July’s revised estimate of 601,000 starts. Housing starts were 5.8 percent lower than the August 2010 rate of 606,000 starts.

Single-family housing starts in August decreased from July’s revised figure of 423,000 to 417,000, a decline of 1.4 percent, and multi-family dwellings declined 12.4 percent from a revised 169,000 starts in July to 148,000 in August.

The number of building permits issued in August was higher than in July as builders were authorized a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 620,000 permits in August compared to a revised 601,000 in July, an increase of 3.2 percent. The number of permits issued were also above last years levels, which had an estimated 575,000 permits authorized.

Single-family building permit authorizations were 2.5 percent higher in August than July with 413,000 permits authorized compared to a revised 403,000 in July. Multi-family dwelling permits in August increased to 178,000 authorizations from a revised amount of 177,000 in July.

Housing completions declined in August compared to July with a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 623,000 completions reported compared to July’s revised estimate of 640,000 completions. Housing completions in August were 2.6 percent higher than the August 2010 rate of 607,000 completions.

Single-family completions in August were at a rate of 477,000, a decline of 0.2 percent from July’s revised rate of 478,000. Multi-family completions in August were at a rate of 143,000 which was a 7.1 percent decline from July’s 154,000 completions.

Regionally, housing starts increased in two of the four regions with the Midwest and the West posting gains of 2.6 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively, and the Northeast and the South posting declines of 29.1 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively.

Compared to a year ago, three of the four regions posted declines in housing starts with only the South region posting an increase.

Building permit authorizations increased in three of the four regions in August compared to July. In the Midwest, authorizations increased 6.3 percent and in the Northeast authorizations increased 3.3 percent. In the West, building permit authorizations were 11.3 percent higher, while in the South authorizations were 1.3 percent lower.

Building permit authorizations increased in three of the four regions compared to a year ago with only the Northeast posting a decline.

Tags: housing starts, single-family homes, multi-family dwellings, building permits, housing completions

Source:
Census Bureau