November Housing Starts at Year-to-Date High

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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 November rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.297 million, an increase of 3.3% from the downwardly revised October rate of 1.256 million and an increase of 12.9% compared with the November 2016 rate of 1.149 million.

The revision to the October rate dropped 34,000 new housing starts from the previously reported total. The consensus estimate from a survey of economists expected a rate of around 1.24 million in November.

Single-family housing starts rose month over month by 478,000 in November to 930,000. The increase is likely due to rebuilding following the devastation caused by hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Single-family starts in the West rose by 23,000 month over month to 224,000, the highest monthly total of the year to date.

The seasonally adjusted rate of new building permits slipped to 1.298 million, down 1.7% from the downwardly revised October rate of 1.316 million and up 3.4% from the November 2016 rate of 1.255 million.

Permits for new single-family homes rose month over month in November from a revised annual rate of 850,000 in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 862,000. The rate rose 9.7% year over year.

Multifamily starts for buildings with five or more units increased by 11.1% year over year in November and rose by 0.8% compared with October. This number is more volatile than the single-family number but has moved mostly sideways since 2013.