August 17, 2011 (Chris Moore)

Construction of new residential housing lost momentum in July as declines in new single-family housing starts were partly offset by gains in apartment construction according to the latest data released by the Census Bureau.

Privately owned housing starts declined by 1.5 percent in July compared to June with a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 604,000 starts reported in July compared to June’s revised estimate of 613,000 starts. Housing starts were 9.8 percent higher than July 2010’s rate of 550,000 starts.

Single-family housing starts in July decreased from June’s revised figure of 447,000 to 425,000, a decline of 4.9 percent, and multi-family dwellings increased 6.3 percent from a revised 160,000 starts in June to 170,000 in July.

The number of building permits issued in July were slightly lower than June as builders were authorized a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 597,000 permits in July compared to a revised 617,000 in June, a decline of 3.2 percent. The number of permits issued were above last years levels, which had an estimated 575,000 permits authorized.

Single-family building permit authorizations were 0.5 percent higher in July than June with 404,000 permits authorized compared to a revised 402,000 in June. Multi-family dwelling permits in July declined to 170,000 authorizations compared to a revised amount of 194,000 in June.

Housing completions increased in July compared to June with a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 636,000 completions reported compared to June’s 569,000 completions. Housing completions in July were also 9.5 percent higher than July 2010’s rate of 581,000 completions.

Single-family completions in July were at a rate of 470,000, an increase of 6.1 percent from June’s revised rate of 443,000. Multi-family completions in July were at a rate of 158,000, a large increase from June’s 111,000 completions.

Regionally, housing starts increased in two of the four regions with the Northeast and the South experiencing gains of 34.7 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively, with the Midwest and West experiencing declines of 37.7 percent and 3.0 percent, respectively.

Compared to a year ago, three of the four regions posted increases in housing starts with only the Midwest region posting a decline.

Building permit authorizations declined in three of the four regions in July compared to June. In the Midwest, authorizations declined 7.1 percent and in the South authorizations increased 3.6 percent. In the West, building permit authorizations declined 7.8 percent while the Northeast reported a decline of 18.3 percent in authorizations.

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

Census Bureau