US Housing Starts Fall Much More than Expected


Housing starts in the United States slumped 8.2 percent month-over-month to an annualized rate of 1,192 thousand in December of 2017, compared to market expectations of a 1.7 percent decline. It is the biggest drop since November of 2016 amid an 11.8 percent fall in single-family units.

Single-family starts, the largest segment of the market, fell 11.8 percent to 836 thousand while the volatile multi-family segment rose 2.6 percent to 352 thousand. Overall, housing starts declined in all 4 main regions: the South (-14.2 percent to 582 thousand); the West (-0.9 percent to 344 thousand); the Midwest (-2.2 percent to 178 thousand) and the Northeast (-4.3 percent to 88 thousand). 

Building permits edged down 0.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1,302 thousand, higher than market expectations of 1,290 thousand. Multi-family home permits shrank 4.3 percent to 382 thousand while permits for construction of single-family homes increased 1.8 percent to 881 thousand. Permits fell in the South (-11.1 percent to 579 thousand) but rose in the other 3 regions: the West (1.7 percent to 361 thousand); the Midwest (8.7 percent to 199 thousand) and the Northeast (43 percent to 163 thousand). 

Year-on-year, starts went down 6 percent while permits gained 2.8 percent.

Considering full 2017, housing starts went up 2.4 percent to 1,202,100 and building permits rose 4.7 percent to 1,263,400. Both reached the highest level since 2007.

US Housing Starts Fall Much More than Expected


Census Bureau | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com
1/18/2018 1:59:45 PM