Housing Starts Move Higher in August, Building Permits Slide

September 20, 2012 (Chris Moore)

Housing starts came back from July’s 2.8 percent decline with a 2.3 percent gain in August according to the latest data released by the Census Bureau. So far this year housing starts have been evenly split with four months of declines and four months of increases.

Filings for building permits declined for the month as single-family homes posted a modest increase while authorizations for multi-family housing declined.

Housing Starts:

Privately owned housing starts increased by 2.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 750,000 in August from a revised estimate of 730,000 in July. Housing starts were 29.1 percent higher than in August 2011 which had an estimated 614,000 starts. Housing starts in July were downwardly revised from 746,000 to 733,000 increasing July’s 1.1 percent decline to 2.8 percent.

Single-family housing starts moved higher in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 535,000, up 5.5 percent from a revised estimate of 507,000 starts in July and were 26.8 percent higher than in August of last year when an estimated 581,000 starts were reported.

Housing starts for multi-family dwellings declined by 2.8 percent from a revised rate of 214,000 starts in July to a seasonally adjusted rate of 208,000 starts in August. Housing starts for multi-family dwellings were still 36.8 percent higher than a year ago when an estimated 152,000 starts were recorded.

On an adjusted basis, housing starts declined by 0.4 percent falling from 70,200 starts to 69,900 starts.

Regionally, monthly housing starts fell in two of the four regions with the Northeast posting the largest decline of 12.6 percent followed by the West with a decline of 4.3 percent. The Midwest posted the largest increase of 20.7 percent with the South posting an increase of 3.7 percent.

Compared to a year ago, all four of the regions posted increases in housing starts with the Midwest posting the largest increase of 55.8 percent, followed by the Northeast with a 35.7 percent gain while the West and the South posted gains of 24.8 and 22.1 percent, respectively.

Building Permits:

The number of building permits issued in August fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 803,000, down 1.0 percent from a revised estimate of 803,000 permits in July. Authorized building permits were 24.5 percent higher than the August 2011 estimate of 645,000.

Single-family building permit authorizations were 0.2 percent higher in August than July with 512,000 permits authorized in August compared to a revised 511,000 in July. Building permit authorizations for single-family homes were 19.3 percent higher than in August of last year which had an estimated 429,000 permits issued.

Multi-family dwelling permits in August fell to 263,000 authorizations from a revised total of 271,000 in July, a decline of 3.0 percent. Authorizations for multi-family dwellings were 39.2 percent higher than in August of last year which had an estimated 189,000 authorizations.

Building permit authorizations increased in two of the four regions in August compared to July. In the Midwest, authorizations rose by 7.9 percent while in the South, authorizations increased by 0.7 percent. In the Northeast, authorizations fell 7.1 percent between July and August and in the West, authorizations declined 6.4 percent between the two months.

Year-over-year, building permit authorizations increased in all four regions with the Midwest posting the largest increase of 35.5 percent, followed by the West which posted a 34.0 percent increase and South and the Midwest saw gains of 22.6 and 11.8 percent, respectively.

Housing Completions:

Housing completions increased by 0.7 percent from July to August with a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 689,000 completions reported in August compared to July’s revised estimate of 684,000 completions. Housing completions were 11.7 percent higher than in August of last year when an estimated 617,000 completions were reported.

Single-family completions in August were at an annual rate of 489,000 units, which was 5.4 percent higher than July’s revised rate of 464,000 and 2.3 percent above last year’s rate of 478,000 units. Multi-family completions in August were at a rate of 193,000 units, 8.5 percent lower than the 211,000 units completed in July but 43.0 percent higher than the 135,000 completions in August of last year.

On an unadjusted basis, housing completions are 8.9 percent ahead of last year’s pace at this same time.

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

Source:
Census Bureau