December Housing Starts MISS Expectations In A Big Way

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Housing starts fell 4.1% in December, to 657K on an annualized basis.Analysts were predicting that they would fall from 685K to 680K. That would have amounted to a drop of 0.7% from November.

Last month, housing starts smashed expectations, jumping 9.3% month over month.

We’ve seen a slew of positive housing data recently, and this negative number could be a sign that the positive trend has been overblown.

Or not.

From the Census Bureau:

Privately owned housing starts in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 657,000. This is 4.1 per cent (±11.6%)* below the revised November estimate of 685,000, but is 24.9 per cent (±18.3%) above the December 2010 rate of 526,000.

Single-family housing starts in December were at a rate of 470,000; this is 4.4 per cent (±11.3%)* above the revised November figure of 450,000. The December rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 164,000.

An estimated 606,900 housing units were started in 2011. This is 3.4 per cent (±2.4%) above the 2010 figure of 586,900