Housing Starts Dropped 8.2% in December But Increased 2.4% For 2017

US Housing Starts Decline Building Permits Stabilize

The report said housing starts tumbled by 8.2 percent to an annual rate of 1.192 million in December from the revised November estimate of 1.299 million. Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,302,000, a scant 0.1 percent below the revised November rate of 1,303,000 and 2.8 percent higher than the December 2016 rate of 1,266,000.

An estimated 1.202 million housing units were started in 2017, an increase of 2.4% compared with 1.174 million in 2016.

The seasonally adjusted rate of new building permits ticked down to 1.302 million, 0.1% lower than the upwardly revised November rate of 1.303 million and up 2.8% from the December 2016 rate of 1.266 million.

Permits for single-family homes were at a rate of 881,000, an increase of 1.8% compared with a revised revised 865,000 in November. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 382,000 in December.

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"The latest decline in the volatile housing starts data is disappointing, but surely not lasting", said National Association of Realtors (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. Single-family production should increase 5 percent to 893,000 units while the multifamily sector is expected to edge 1.6 percent lower this year to 354,000. An estimated 1.263 million permits were issued in 2017, up 4.7% year over year. Completions for units in buildings with five units or more came in at 346,000. "About 95 percent of new homes are priced below $750,000. The entry-level price point is in dire need of new inventory heading into the spring".

A report released by the Commerce Department on Thursday showed a steep drop in new residential construction in the U.S.in the month of December.

"The pace of housing starts averaged just 1.2 million for the year, far short of the historical average of 1.5 million starts", Richardson said in a statement.

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