Housing Starts Get Tripped Up in July

Home-building activity unexpectedly tripped up in July, with housing starts down 4.8 percent to a rate of 1,155,000, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Single-family housing starts decreased 0.5 percent to 856,000. Starts for units in buildings with five units or more came in at 287,000.

Permits also tumbled, down 4.1 percent from June to 1,223,000, according to the data. Single-family permits were the same as in June, at 811,000. Permits for units in buildings with five units or more came in at 377,000.

Completions totaled 1,175,000 in July, falling 6.2 percent. Single-family completions decreased 1.6 percent from June to 814,000. Completions for units in buildings with five units or more came in at 354,000.

“Despite a slip in new construction in July from June, construction continues to grow on a year-over-year basis, with construction of single-family homes taking a stronger lead,” says Danielle Hale, chief economist at realtor.com®. “This is good news for buyers, since most single-family construction is built for homeowners while in recent years the majority of multi-family construction has been built for renters. The outperformance in single-family construction is starting to get us closer to a historically normal balance between single-family and multi-family homes.”

“New-home production numbers are in line with our forecast for a slow and steady recovery of the housing market,” said Robert Dietz, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), in a statement. “We saw multi-family production peak in 2015, and this sector should continue to level off as demand remains solid.”

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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