Building Permits Continue Higher; Housing Starts Ebb

by devteam September 17th, 2015 | Share

This morning’s Residential Construction report from thernCensus Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development for August wasrnmixed with a moderate increase in building permits and a corresponding downturnrnin housing starts.  Housing completions werernwell above those in July.</p

Housing permits were issued at a seasonally adjusted annualrnrate of 1,170,000, an increase of 3.5 percent from July and well above analysts’rnconsensus expectations of 1,160,000 as reported by Bloomberg.  The July rate wasrnrevised to 1,130,000 from the 1,119,000 originally reported.  The August permitting rate was 12.5 percentrnhigher than the seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,040,000 in August 2014. </p

Single-family permits were issued in August at a rate ofrn699,000, up 2.8 percent from the revised (from 679,000) 680,000 units in Julyrnand 8.7 percent above the August 2014 rate. rnMultifamily permitting was at a 440,000 rate compared to 422,000 inrnJuly.</p

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis issued permits totaled anrnestimated 98,300, down from 102,000 in July. rnSingle family permits were down only slightly at 61,200.</p

Housing starts in August were at a seasonally adjustedrnannual rate of 1,126,000 units, down 3.0 percent from July’s 1,161,000 but 16.6rnpercent higher than a year earlier when starts were at a rate of 966,000. Analystsrnhad expected a rate of 1,160,000 for August. The July estimate was arnsubstantial downward revision from the original estimate of 1,206,000.  </p

Single family construction starts were estimated at a raternof 739,000, also a 3.0 percent drop from the previous month’s revised 762,000rnestimate (originally put at 782,000 units) but reflecting an annual increase ofrn14.9 percent.  Multifamily starts werernestimated to be at a 381,000 rate compared to 390,000 the previous month.</p

On an unadjusted basis, housing starts in August were estimatedrnat 99,900 compared to 108,500 in July. rnSingle family houses accounted for 66,900 of those starts.</p

Housing units were completed at an annual rate of 935,000, a<b6.1 percent drop from 996,000 in July and 3.3 percent higher than in Augustrn2015.  Single family completions werernestimated at 646,000 units, up 1.6 percent for the month.  Units in buildings with five or more wererncompleted at a 283,000 annual pace, an 18.9 percent drop from July.</p

Unadjusted, 89,700 residential units were completed duringrnthe month, an increase of slightly less than 3,000 from July.  An estimated 57,300 of those units werernsingle family houses.  </p

At the end of August there were approximately 147,000rnpermits outstanding under which construction had not begun, about the same</bnumber as in July.  Construction wasrnunderway on 920,000 units of residential housing; 515,000 of which were inrnbuildings with five or more units.</p

Permits were issued in the Northeast at a rate 4.4 percentrnlower than in July and 6.8 percent below a year earlier. Housing starts wererndown 33.7 percent from the previous month and up a slight 0.9 percent fromrnAugust 2015. Unit completions were 18.8 percent lower in both July and for thernsame period in 2014.</p

In the Midwest there was a 2.9 percent increase inrnpermitting in August when compared both to July and the previous year.  Starts were down both for the month andrnyear-over-year at 9.8 percent and 12.8 percent respectively. Completions fellrn14.5 percent compared to July and 9.3 percent from a year earlier.</p

The South saw a 2.4 percent bump up in permittingrnmonth-over-month and the annual rate increased by 10.1 percent. Housing startsrnrose by 7.1 percent month-over-month and 22.9 percent on an annual basis.rnCompletions fell by 9.3 percent from a month earlier but were 2.7 percent abovernthe level a year earlier.</p

Permits increased in the West by 9.6 percent for the monthrnand 36.4 percent on an annual basis. rnHousing starts eased down 1.1 percent but were still 28.2 percent higherrnthan a year earlier.  Completions jumpedrnup by 13.2 percent from July and 25.8 percent from the previous August.

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About the Author


Steven A Feinberg (@CPAsteve) of Appletree Business Services LLC, is a PASBA member accountant located in Londonderry, New Hampshire.

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