August Housing Starts Drop 6%

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The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development reported Tuesday morning that new housing starts in August dipped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.142 million, a decrease of 5.8% from the upwardly revised July rate of 1.212 million but an increase of 0.9% compared with the August 2015 rate of 1.132 million. The consensus estimate from a survey of economists expected a rate of around 1.19 million.

The revision to the July rate added 1,000 new housing starts from the previously reported total.

The seasonally adjusted rate of new building permits slipped in August to 1.139 million, down 0.4% from the downwardly revised July rate of 1.144 million and 2.3% below the August 2015 rate of 1.166 million. The consensus estimate called for 1.167 million new building permits.

Single-family housing starts fell to an annualized rate of 722,000 in August, down 6% from the revised July rate of 768,000. Single-family starts fell about 1.2% year over year in August.

Permits for new single-family homes rose 3.7% month over month in August, to an adjusted annual rate of 737,000, from a revised total of 711,000 in July. The rate rose 3.8% year over year.

Multifamily starts for buildings with five or more units rose by 2.3% year over year in August and fell by 6.9% compared with July.