Housing Starts Come In Better Than Expected, Still Dismal

Headline Number: 555,000 annualized for November

Expectations: 550,000 annualized

Background: Housing starts plunged in October to 519,000, an 18 month low. The market continues to be depressed due to a backlog of unsold homes in the system.

The detail, from the Census Bureau:

BUILDING PERMITS

Privately-owned housing units authorised by building permits in November were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 530,000. This is 4.0 per cent (±2.9%) below the revised October rate of 552,000 and is 14.7 per cent (±1.7%) below the November 2009 estimate of 621,000.

Single-family authorizations in November were at a rate of 416,000; this is 3.0 per cent (±1.0%) above the revised October figure of 404,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 94,000 in November.

HOUSING STARTS

Privately-owned housing starts in November were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 555,000. This is 3.9 per cent (±12.0%)* above the revised October estimate of 534,000, but is 5.8 per cent (±12.0%)* below the November 2009 rate of 589,000.

Single-family housing starts in November were at a rate of 465,000; this is 6.9 per cent (±13.5%)* above the revised October figure of 435,000. The November rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 72,000.

HOUSING COMPLETIONS

Privately-owned housing completions in November were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 513,000. This is 14.1 per cent (±10.9%) below the revised October estimate of 597,000 and is 39.6 per cent (±8.6%) below the November 2009 rate of 850,000.

Single-family housing completions in November were at a rate of 436,000; this is 10.1 per cent (±11.6%)* below the revised October rate of 485,000. The November rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 73,000.

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