Housing Starts Beat Expectations To Hit Six-Month High... But New Permits Slumped

Privately owned housing starts rose 2.8% in January to 591,000 units on a seasonally adjusted basis, beating consensus expectations for just a 580,000 increase, and above December’s revised 575,000.

Still, new permits, which indicate future activity, went in the opposite direction:

Commerce Department: Privately-owned housing units authorised by building permits in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 621,000. This is 4.9 per cent (±2.2%) below the revised December rate of 653,000, but is 16.9 per cent (±4.0%) above the January 2009 estimate of 531,000.

Single-family authorizations in January were at a rate of 507,000; this is 0.4 per cent (±1.2%)* above the revised December figure of 505,000. Authorizations of units in building with five units or more were at a rate of 96,000 in January.

According to Reuters, the inventory of total houses under construction fell 2.3 per cent to a record low 503,000 units in January.

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