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  Housing Starts Declined 2.8% in October
Posted Under: Data Watch • Home Starts • Housing

 
Implications: Home building has been very volatile over the past few months but the underlying trend remains upward and we expect that to continue. The best news from today's report was that building permits rose 4.8% in October, as single-family and multi-family permits rose 1.4% and 10% respectively. Permits now stand at the highest level since June 2008, signaling future gains in home building in the months to come. October's drop of 2.8% for home building was all due to multi-family units, which were down 15.4% in October and have caused large swings in overall housing starts over the past few months. Single-family starts have been steadily rising over the past three months. So, the multi-family volatility over the past few months has masked slow underlying improvement in the housing sector. To smooth out the volatility we look at the 12-month moving average. This is now at the highest level since September 2008. The total number of homes under construction, (started, but not yet finished) increased 1.4% in October and are up 20.1% versus a year ago. No wonder residential construction jobs are up 131,000 in the past year. Although multi-family construction has slowed over the past few months, it has still taken the clear lead in the housing recovery. Single-family starts have been in a tight range for the past two years, while the trend in multi-family units has been up steeply. In the past year, 36% of all housing starts have been for multi-unit buildings, the most since the mid-1980s, when the last wave of Baby Boomers was leaving college. From a direct GDP perspective, the construction of multi-family homes adds less, per unit, to the economy than single-family homes. However, home building is still a positive for real GDP growth and we expect that trend to continue. Based on population growth and "scrappage," housing starts will rise to about 1.5 million units per year over the next couple of years.

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Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 10:07 AM • Post Link Share: 
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These posts were prepared by First Trust Advisors L.P., and reflect the current opinion of the authors. They are based upon sources and data believed to be accurate and reliable. Opinions and forward looking statements expressed are subject to change without notice. This information does not constitute a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security.
 
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