Housing Starts Up 5.9% In July

Driven mainly by increased construction of multifamily units, housing starts increased 5.9% in July compared to June on a seasonally adjusted basis and were up 20.9% compared to July 2012, according to data jointly released by the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development.

There were about 896,000 housing starts, including multi-family, in July, compared to 846,000 in June and 673,000 in July 2012.

Single-family housing starts decreased 2.2%, from 604,000 units in June to 591,000 in July. Still, single-family starts were 15.4% higher than a year earlier.

Authorizations for single-family homes decreased 1.9%, compared to June. There were about 613,000 authorizations, compared to June's 625,000, for single-family homes. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 303,000 in July.

Housing completions were up 1.8%, seasonally adjusted, compared to June and were 15% above July 2012. About 774,000 new homes were built, compared to about 760,000 in June and 673,000 in July 2012.

Of these, about 571,000 were single-family housing completions, compared to about 539,000 single-family completions in June, an increase of 5.9%. Of these single-family units, about 195,000 were units in buildings with five units or more.

Building permits for private housing units rose 2.7% in July, seasonally adjusted, and were up 12.4% compared to July 2012. About 943,000 new units had received permits, up from about 918,000 in June and up considerably from about 839,000 in July 2012.

As of July 31, there were 101,600 permits outstanding for new housing that had not yet been started, slightly over half of which were for single-family dwellings. About half of that pending construction is in the South.

There were about 636,000 units under construction at the end of July, of which about 315,000 were single-family units.

On a regional basis, permits were up 1% in the Northeast, compared to June, and up 17.8% compared to July 2012. Housing starts were up 40.2% and 30.7%, respectively. Housing completions, while up 15.7%, were down 11% compared to last year.

In the Midwest, permits rose 2.8% compared to June and 26.3% compared to July 2012. Housing starts increased 25.4% compared to the month prior and were up 36.2% compared to a year earlier. Completions rose 8.6% but were down 6% percent year-over-year.

In the South, permits were up 1.1% compared to June and were up 8.4% compared to July 2012. Housing starts fell 7% but were up 14.2% compared to last year. Completions decreased by 3.6% but were 20.6% above July 2012 levels.

In the West, permits rose 7.1% compared to June and 10.3% compared to a year earlier. Housing starts were up 7.2%, month-over-month, and up 19.4% compared to last year. Completions were up 3.8% compared to June and up 40.1% compared to July 2012.

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