New housing starts in July rose to an annual seasonally adjusted rate of 746,000, a drop of 1.1% from the revised June rate of 754,000 and a gain of 21.5% above the July 2011 rate of 614,000. A consensus estimate from a survey of economists expected the rate to rise to 756,000.
In contrast to construction starts, new permits reached a four-year high in July. The seasonally adjusted rate of new permits rose to 812,000, which is 6.8% more than the revised June rate of 760,000 and 29.5% higher than the July 2011 rate of 627,000.
The important point to note in the release from the Census Bureau is that housing starts have shown a year-over-year increase every month this year compared with last year. For the first seven months of 2011, starts averaged 346,700 while starts in the first seven months of 2012 have averaged 435,900. That’s an increase of 25%. Even it new starts slow down in the final few months of the year, the full-year increase over 2011 is likely to be at least 20%. Good news indeed.