HOUSING STARTS PLUNGE

Housing starts plummeted 16% month-over-month to an annualized pace of 880,000.

This was worse than expectations for a 4.9% to an annualized pace of 950,000 units.

December’s data was revised up to reflect a 4.8% fall to 1.04 million units. This compares with an initial print of a 9.8% fall to 999,000.

Meanwhile, building permits fell 5.4% to 937,000, missing expectations for a 1.6% fall to 975,000.

December’s number was revised up to reflect a 2.6% fall to 991,000, compared with an initial print of a 3% fall to 986,000.

The Northeast however saw housing starts rise a whopping 61.9% to an annualized pace of 136,000 units. Meanwhile, in the Midwest they fell 68% to 50,000 units SAAR, the lowest on record.

On Tuesday, we saw homebuilder confidence tumble t0 46 in February.

“Unusually severe weather conditions,” and “continued concerns over the cost and availability of labour and lots” were blamed for the slump in homebuilder confidence.

Housing data has been deteriorating for some time now and we’ve also seen mortgage applications fall on the back of rising mortgage rates.

Below is the full text of the release

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NEW RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION IN JANUARY 2014

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly announced the following new residential construction statistics for January 2014:

BUILDING PERMITS

Privately-owned housing units authorised by building permits in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 937,000. This is 5.4 per cent (±0.7%) below the revised December rate of 991,000, but is 2.4 per cent (±1.0%) above the January 2013 estimate of 915,000.

Single-family authorizations in January were at a rate of 602,000; this is 1.3 per cent (±0.8%) below the revised December figure of 610,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 309,000 in January.

HOUSING STARTS

Privately-owned housing starts in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 880,000. This is 16.0 per cent (±10.5%) below the revised December estimate of 1,048,000 and is 2.0 per cent (±10.8%)* below the January 2013 rate of 898,000.

Single-family housing starts in January were at a rate of 573,000; this is 15.9 per cent (±12.1%) below the revised December figure of 681,000. The January rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 300,000.

HOUSING COMPLETIONS

Privately-owned housing completions in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 814,000. This is 4.6 per cent (±8.3%)* above the revised December estimate of 778,000 and is 13. 1 per cent (±12.8%) above the January 2013 rate of 720,000.

Single-family housing completions in January were at a rate of 580,000; this is 3.0 per cent (±7.3%)* above the revised December rate of 563,000. The January rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 220,000.

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