The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly announced the following new residential construction statistics for August 2011:
Although starts were again disappointing, down 5.8 percent year over year, permits taken in August exceeded analysts’ predictions, up 7.8 percent over August 2010. Housing completions (623,000 units) continued its lackluster, ho-hum pace — down just 2.7 percent from July, but up just 2.6 percent over last year. Meanwhile, the White House shifts to class warfare on economic and fiscal policy, and shoves housing to the back burner again.
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 620,000. This is 3.2 percent above the revised July rate of 601,000 and is 7.8 percent above the August 2010 estimate of 575,000.
Single-family authorizations in August were at a rate of 413,000; this is 2.5 percent (±0.9%) above the revised July figure of 403,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 178,000 in August.
Privately-owned housing starts in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 571 000. This is 5.0 percent below the revised July estimate of 601,000 and is 5.8 percent below the August 2010 rate of 606,000.
Single-family housing starts in August were at a rate of 417,000; this is 1.4 percent (±10.3%)* below the revised July figure of 423,000. The August rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 148,000.
Privately-owned housing completions in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 623,000. This is 2.7 percent below the revised July estimate of 640,000, but is 2.6 percent above the August 2010 rate of 607,000.
Single-family housing completions in August were at a rate of 477,000; this is 0.2 percent below the revised July rate of 478,000. The August rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 143,000.
“At this point, most builders are only looking to replenish their depleted inventories of new homes for sale, but otherwise holding off on new projects,” said National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Chairman Bob Nielsen. “While we would like to get more crews back on the job, we need to see solid improvement in consumer demand, greater access to credit for both builders and buyers, and a reduction in the number of foreclosed properties on the market before we can ramp up new production.”
“Today’s numbers are completely consistent with NAHB’s forecast for the quarter, and are in keeping with the anemic economic and job growth we are seeing across most of the country,” said NAHB Senior Economist Robert Denk. “That said, we continue to anticipate modest gains in new-home production through the end of this year with greater momentum building into 2013, and some pockets of improvement are already evident in about a dozen metros nationwide.”