U.S. Housing Starts Drop 3.0% In August But Building Permits Rebound 3.5%

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The FINANCIAL — New residential construction in the U.S. decreased in the month of August, the Commerce Department revealed in a report on September 17, although the report also showed a notable increase in building permits, according to Nasdaq.

The report said housing starts fell 3.0 percent to an annual rate of 1.126 million in August from the revised July estimate of 1.161.

Economists had expected housing starts to drop to a rate of 1.168 million from the 1.206 million originally reported for the previous month, reflecting a 3.2 percent decrease.

While the rate of housing starts in July was downwardly revised, the June rate was upwardly revised to 1.211 million and was the highest since October of 2007.

The drop in housing starts reflected 3.0 percent decreases in both single-family and multi-family starts, which fell to annual rates of 739,000 and 387,000, respectively.

On the other hand, the Commerce Department said building permits rose 3.5 percent to an annual rate of 1.170 million in August from the revised July rate of 1.130 million.

Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, had been expected to climb 3.7 percent to a rate of 1.160 million from the 1.119 million originally reported for the previous month.

The increase in building permits reflected a rebound following the 15.5 percent drop seen in July, which pulled permits down well off the eight-year high of 1.337 million set in June.

Single-family permits climbed 2.8 percent to a rate of 699,000, while multi-family permits jumped 4.7 percent to a rate of 471,000.

Compared to the same month a year ago, the Commerce Department said housing starts were up by 16.6 percent and building permits were up by 12.5 percent.

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On WSeptember 16, the National Association of Home Builders released a separate report showing a continued improvement in homebuilder confidence in the month of September.

The report said the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index crept up to 62 in September from 61 in August, while economists had expected the index to come in unchanged.

With the unexpected uptick, the housing market index reached its highest level since hitting 68 in October of 2005.


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