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Housing starts decline in July

Single-family starts and permits are up.

BY HBSDealer Staff

Housing starts fell for a third straight month, dropping 4% in July to an annual rate of 1.191 million from the revised June estimate of 1.241 million, the Commerce Department reported.

But the latest report is also 0.6% above the July 2018 rate of 1.184 million.

Single-family starts in July were at a rate of 876,000, rising 1.3% from the June report of 865,000.

Regionally, single-family starts in July increased 22.9% in the Northeast, were up 1.6% in the Midwest and rose 8.1% in the West. Single-family starts fell 3.9% in the South.

Combined single-family and multifamily starts in July rose 3.7% in the South. Combined starts declined 5.7% in Northeast, 7.9% in the Midwest and 12.3% in the West.

Total permits in July rose 8.4% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.336 million from the revised June rate of 1.232 million. This is also a 1.5% increase from the July 2018 rate of 1.316 million.  Single-family permits increased 1.8% to 838,000 from the revised the June rate of 823,000.

Single-family permits increased 1.9% in the Northeast, rose 1.8% in the South, and grew 7% in the West. Single-family permits fell 6.8% in the Midwest.

“Despite housing affordability headwinds, builders remain confident about the market and this is reflected in recent modest gains in single-family starts,” said Greg Ugalde, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Torrington, Conn.

The latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released on Aug. 15, showed a slight increase in builder confidence.

“Permits bottomed out in April and single-family starts hit their low point in May, and now we are starting to see the gradual improvement in the market that we’ve been forecasting,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz.

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