December Housing Starts and Permits Figures Sag

by devteam January 20th, 2012 | Share

Building permits and housing starts inrnDecember were both below levels reported in November ‘according to datarnreleased this morning by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)rnand the Census Bureau.  Both statisticsrnwere, however, well above the levels one year earlier.</p

Building permits for privately ownedrnhousing units were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 679,000, 0.1 percentrnbelow the revised November rate of 680,000. rnPermitting activity was 7.8 percent higher than in December 2010 whenrnthe pace of permits was 630,000.  ThernNovember figure was revised downward from the 681,000 originally reported.</p

Permits were issued for single-familyrnhouses at the rate of 444,000, up 1.8 percent from the 436,000 reported inrnNovember.  Multi-family authorizationsrn(permits in buildings with five or more units) were at a rate of 209,000rncompared to 223,000 in November.</p

The report estimates that there were 611,900rnhousing units issued during the whole of 2011, a 1.2 percent increase over thern604,600 issued in 2010.</p

On a regional basis, permittingrnincreased month-over-month in the Midwest by 5.8 percent and was up 13.4rnpercent on an annual basis.  Permits inrnthe West were unchanged from November and down 1.2 percent year-over-year.   Permitting fell 6.5 percent in the Northeastrnand was 36.8 percent below that of one year ago while the South had arnfractional -0.6 percent change since November but permitting was still up 31.1rnpercent for the year.</p

Building Permits

ChartManager.loadChart(‘permitschart’, ‘HousingPermitsChart’);


Privately-owned housing starts inrnDecember were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 657,000, 4.1 percent below thernrevised November estimate of 685,000 but a 24.9 percent increase from thernDecember 2010 rate of 526,000.  rnSingle-family starts were at a rate of 470,000, up 4.4 percent from thernprevious month’s pace of 450,000 and 11.6 percent higher than in December 2010. rn

There were an estimated 606,900 housingrnunits for which construction was started in 2011 compared to 586,900 inrn2010.  This is an increase of 3.4rnpercent.</p

There were strong regional differencesrnin housing starts.  The Midwest saw arnjump of 54.8 percent in housing starts since November and a year-over-yearrnincrease of 121.5 percent.  The otherrnregions did not fare nearly as well.  ThernNortheast was down 41.2 percent for the month and 1.7 percent since Decemberrn2010.  The change in the South was -3.0rnpercent for the month and 19.0 percent for the year, and the West was downrn-17.6 percent since November but up 1.5 percent annually.</p

Housing Starts</p

ChartManager.loadChart(‘housingchart’, ‘HousingChart’);


Housing completions in December were atrna seasonally adjusted annual rate of 605,000, up 9.2 percent from the upwardly revisedrn(from 542,000) November figure of 554,000. rnSingle family completions were at a rate of 448,000, a -0.9 percent monthlyrnchange.</p

An estimated 583,900 housing units wererncompleted during 2011, 10.4 percent below the 2010 figure of 651,700.  At year’s end there were an estimated 78,800rnpermits that had been issued but for which work had not yet been started.  More than half of these permits (43,100) werernin the South.

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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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