Housing Starts scored a disappointingly small gain in July, but they’re very volatile month to month. So, comparing the year-to-date pace with the same period in 2017 finds starts are up 5.9% from a year ago.
There’s lots of yak about builders being down about labor shortages and materials costs. But Building Permits are increasing at a faster rate than Starts and strong buyer demand keeps builder confidence historically high.
Freddie Mac’s chief economist observed that mortgage rates have been mostly flat since late spring, but “this pause in rates is not leading to increasing home sales.” Buyers who can act probably should while rates are at restructuring
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in July were at a seasonally adjusted annual
rate of 1,311,000. This is 1.5 percent (±1.3 percent) above the revised June rate of 1,292,000 and is 4.2
percent (±1.7 percent) above the July 2017 rate of 1,258,000. Single-family authorizations in July were at a
rate of 869,000; this is 1.9 percent (±1.4 percent) above the revised June figure of 853,000. Authorizations
of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 410,000 in July.
Privately-owned housing starts in July were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,168,000. This is 0.9
percent (±11.5 percent)* above the revised June estimate of 1,158,000, but is 1.4 percent (±11.7 percent)*
below the July 2017 rate of 1,185,000. Single-family housing starts in July were at a rate of 862,000; this is
0.9 percent (±9.6 percent)* above the revised June figure of 854,000. The July rate for units in buildings
with five units or more was 303,000.
Privately-owned housing completions in July were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,188,000. This is
1.7 percent (±10.9 percent)* below the revised June estimate of 1,209,000 and is 0.8 percent (±11.3
percent)* below the July 2017 rate of 1,197,000. Single-family housing completions in July were at a rate
of 814,000; this is 5.2 percent (±7.8 percent)* below the revised June rate of 859,000. The July rate for units
in buildings with five units or more was 371,000.