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Starts fall back to earth

BY HBSDealer Staff

After rising to an 11-year high in May, total housing starts sank 12.3% in June, and slipped 4.2% compared to June 2017.

The residential construction report from the Commerce Department released Wednesday morning estimated a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,173,000 housing starts for June. The figure surprised analysts who had forecast a rate of 1.32 million.

Single-family starts were only slightly less disappointing. The report estimated a single-family SAAR of 858,000, down 9.1% from the May figure of 944,000.

Statistics on building permits presented a glimmer of growth. Single-family authorizations in June were at a rate of 850,000, up 0.8% from the revised May figure of 843,000.

Regional breakdown:

Among the four regions in the U.S., the South fared the best. The South saw a 13.4% increase in year over year housing starts, and a 3.1% in single-family starts increase year-over-year.

The Midwest saw double-digit declines across the board. The rate of total housing starts in the Midwest declined 35.8% compared to May and declined 23.5% compared to June 2017.

See the Commerce Department report here.

The report comes as dealers and industry analysts point to the challenges of labor availability, rising prices of lumber and potential shortages in building materials.

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