Results from this morning's residential construction
report from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban
Development were mixed. Construction
permits made a strong showing while housing starts were down, continuing the
see-saw pattern that has persisted for months.
The Western region was markedly weak across all three of the report's
Construction permits were issued at a seasonally
adjusted annual rate of 1,285,000, up 4.6 percent from the December rate of
1,228,000. The latter number was a
revision from the 1,210,000 units previously announced. On a year-over-year basis permitting posted
an 8.2 percent increase over the previous January's pace of 1,188,000.
The results bested estimates of analysts polled by
Econoday who were looking for permits in the range of 1,220,000 to 1,250,000
units. The consensus was 1,233,000.
Single family permits fell back by 2.7 percent to an
annual rate of 808,000 compared to a revised (from 817,000) 830,000 permits in
December. The rate of permits remained
11.1 percent higher than in January 2016.
Permits for construction in buildings with five or more units rose 23.5
percent to 446,000 units, the highest level since September.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis there were an
estimated 86,800 permits issued in January, down from 91,400 in December. Single-family permits accounted for 53,900 of
Privately-owned housing starts slipped in January, to a
seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,246,000.
This was a 2.6 percent decline from the December estimate of 1,279,000,
which was an upward revision from the 1,226,000 units original reported. Despite the downturn, starts in January were
10.5 percent higher than a year earlier.
The January starts were in the mid-range of analysts'
expectations of 1,124,000 to 1,260,000 units, but beat the consensus of 1,232,000
Single-family construction starts were up 1.9 percent to
a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 823,000 from an upwardly revised (from
795,000) 808,000 units the previous month. Single-family starts are running 6.2 percent
ahead of last year. Multi-family starts
fell back by 7.9 percent to a rate of 421,000 units but remain 25.7 percent above
the January 2016 pace.
On a non-adjusted basis, there were an estimated
82,500 residential unit started during the month, down from 87,000 in
December. Single family construction
starts were estimated at 53,800.
Privately-owned housing units were completed in
January at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,047,000, a 5.6 percent
decrease from the December rate of 1,109,000 which was a significant downward
revision from the 1,123,000 units originally estimated. The January completion rate
is a 0.9 percent decline from a year earlier.
Single family completions were at a rate of 800,000
units, up 4.3 percent from December and 15.8 percent from January 2016. Multi-family unit completions however dove
26.9 percent month-over-month and 29.9 percent year-over-year.
On a non-adjusted basis, there were 72,100 housing
units completed during the month compared to 104,400 in December. The number of single-family units completed
during the month was 54,400, compared to 75,100 a month earlier.
At the end of January there were an estimated
1,041,800 units under construction on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, up from
1,036,000 in December and 950,200 a year earlier. Single-family units under construction were estimated
at 435,100, a slight decrease from December but about 26,000 units ahead of
January 2016. An estimated 135,400
permits were outstanding at the end of the reporting period - construction
authorized not yet started
Permits in the Northeast rose 29.6 percent on a
monthly basis and were up 71.3 percent from the previous January. Starts rose by 55.4 percent from December but
were 3.4 percent lower on an annual basis. Completions dropped by 22.1 percent
from December and were 17.3 percent lower than a year earlier.
The Midwest saw a 5.3 percent gain in permitting from
the previous month but fell back 4.8 percent year-over-year. Starts were down
by 17.9 percent from the December pace but 21.3 percent higher than in January
2015. The number of units completed fell by 13.0 percent from the month before
but were 11.1 percent higher on an annual basis.
Permits in the South rose by 9.9 percent for the month
and gained 11.5 percent from a year earlier.
Starts were up 20.0 percent compared to December and 19.2 percent higher
than in January 2015. Completions were up 4.3 percent and 13.5 percent from the
two earlier periods.
The Western region saw permitting slow by 13.2 percent
compared to January and by 6.6 percent on an annual basis. Starts plunged 41.3 percent from the December
rate and were of by 8.5 percent from the January 2015 pace. Completions fell by
17.1 percent for the month and by 29.5 percent from a year earlier.