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Housing Starts Up, But Troubles Persist

Phil Hall
Sep 19, 2017
Single-family housing starts in August were at a rate of 851,000, which 1.6 percent above the revised July figure of 838,000

Single-family housing starts in August were at a rate of 851,000, which 1.6 percent above the revised July figure of 838,000, according to new data from the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development. Privately-owned housing starts in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,180,000, which is 0.8 percent below the revised July estimate of 1,190,000, but is 1.4 percent above the August 2016 rate of 1,164,000
 
Single-family authorizations in August were at a rate of 800,000, which is 1.5 percent below the revised July figure of 812,000. However, privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,300,000, which is 5.7 percent above the revised July rate of 1,230,000 and is 8.3 percent above the August 2016 rate of 1,200,000.
 
Single-family housing completions in August were at a rate of 724,000, which is 13.3 percent below the revised July rate of 835,000. And privately-owned housing completions in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,075,000, which is 10.2 percent below the revised July estimate of 1,197,000, but is 3.4 percent above the August 2016 rate of 1,040,000.
 
The new data was greeted with concern by Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtor (NAR).
 
“Following August’s decline in new home construction, there will no doubt be a further temporary setback to housing starts in upcoming months due to the impacts of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma on Texas and Florida, respectively,” Yun said. “The shortage of labor in construction will further intensify as more workers concentrate on rebuilding rather than on new construction. The nation’s housing shortage unfortunately looks to be with us well into the next year.”
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