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Residential Construction Continues Upward Trend
Most Number of Starts Since 2007

The number of starts of single-family homes in July was 12.8 percent higher than in June, while starts in the multi-family sector declined 17.1 percent on a month-to-month basis.

Activity in the single-family sector drove the number of total housing starts to 1.2 million units in July, the highest level of production since October 2007, the National Association of Homebuilders said.

Total housing starts in July were just 0.2 percent better than the 1,204,000 units in June, but 10.1 percent better than the 1,095,000 units on a year-to-year basis, the U.S. Census Bureau's latest report on new residential construction shows. The single-family and multi-family sectors moved in opposite directions in their respective monthly results.

Single-family housing starts in July were 12.8 percent above the June rate of 693,000. There were 413,000 starts of five units or more, a drop of 17.1 percent on a month-to-month basis, and a decline of 2.1 percent compared to July 2014.

Housing completions in the month totaled 987,000 units, according to the Census Bureau report. This was 2.4 percent higher than the 964,000 units in June, and 14.6 percent better than the July 2014 rate of 861,000 units.

Single-family housing completions in July totaled 627,000 units. This is 1.4 percent below the June rate of 636,000. Starts of five units or more amounted to 350,000 units. This is 9.7 percent higher on a monthly basis, and 5.4 percent better year-to-year.

A total of 1,119,000 building permits were issued in July, which is 16.3 percent below the June rate of 1,337,000. But it is 7.5 percent higher compared to the 1,041,000 permits issued in July 2014.

Single-family permits totaled 679,000, or 1.9 percent below the June rate of 692,000 permits. Permits issued for buildings with five units or more came in at a rate of 412,000 in July. This is a 32.6 percent drop compared to June, but an 11.1 percent improvement over the same month in 2014.

"Our builders are reporting more confidence in the market, and are stepping up production of single-family homes as a result," Tom Woods, chairman of the NAHB, said. "However, builders are still reporting problems accessing land and labor." The multi-family sector has been volatile of late, and despite its negative numbers in building starts, the evidence shows it has back to normal since the housing crisis of a few years ago.

"While multifamily production has fully recovered from the downturn, single-family starts are improving at a slow and sometimes intermittent rate as consumer confidence gradually rebounds," David Crowe, NAHB chief economist, said. "Continued job and economic growth will keep single-family housing moving forward."

On a regional level, single- and multi-family housing starts and completions showed mixed results, when comparing July's data to the previous month.

In housing starts, the numbers were positive in the Midwest, at 20.1 percent, and in the South, 7.7 percent. But they were down in the Northeast, minus 27.5 percent, and in the West, minus 3.1 percent.

The same can be said of housing completions. The Midwest improved by 12.2 percent, and the Northeast by 36.1 percent. But completions dropped in the South by 2.7 percent, and in the West by 3.2 percent.

The numbers are all negative in permits for both single- and multi-family units. On the month-to-month basis, the Midwest declined 4.6 percent; the Northeast dropped a whopping 60.2 percent, the South went down by 1.7 percent, and the West saw a 9.9 percent cut.

The U.S. Census Bureau Website link:

National Association of Homebuilders Website link:

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September 17, 2019, 11:07 pm PDT

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