Permits for construction of privately-owned housing dipped slightly in August, down 1.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 803,000 units.  The previously reported July rate was revised downward from 812,000 to 811,000.  The August permitting rate was 24.5 percent above the 645,000 estimate for August 2011.

Single family permits were issued at a rate of 512,000, a 0.2 percent increase from the July figures of 511,000 which was downgraded from the 513,000 units previously announced.  Permits for construction in buildings with five or more units were issued at a rate of 263,000 compared to 271,000 in July.

Housing starts increased by 2.3 percent to an adjusted rate of 750,000.  The July estimate was revised downward from 746,000 to 733,000.  The August number is 29.1 percent higher than the rate one year earlier, estimated at 581,000.

Single family starts increased 5.5 percent to 535,000 compared to the upwardly revised (from 502,000) July figure of 507,000.  The start rate for units in buildings with five or more units was 208,000 compared to 214,000 in July.

Housing was completed at a rate of 689,000 units, a 0.7 percent increase from July and11.7 percent higher than the 617,000 completed in one year earlier.  The July completion rate was revised from 668,000 to 684,000.

At the end of July permits were outstanding for the construction 46,100 single family units and 46,500 for units in multi-family buildings.  There were 492,000 units under construction, 266,000 of which were single family houses.  

Permitting was down 7.1 percent in the Northeast and 6.4 percent in the West and increased 7.9 percent in the Midwest.  There was no change in the South.  Starts were also down in the Northeast and West, 12.6 percent and 4.3 percent respectively.  Housing starts rose 20.0 percent in the Midwest and 3.7 percent in the South. 

Building Permits

Housing Starts