New Residential Housing Starts Slightly Above Forecast for July

real estateJill Mislinski:  The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have now published their findings for July new residential housing starts.

The latest reading of 1.206M was fractionally above the forecast of 1.190M.

Here is the opening of this morning’s monthly report:

Privately-owned housing starts in July were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,206,000. This is 0.2 percent (±15.2%)* above the revised June estimate of 1,204,000 and is 10.1 percent (±10.8%)* above the July 2014 rate of 1,095,000.

Single-family housing starts in July were at a rate of 782,000; this is 12.8 percent (±9.8%) above the revised June figure of 693,000. The July rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 413,000. [link to report]

Here is the historical series for total privately-owned housing starts, which dates from 1959. Because of the extreme volatility of the monthly data points, a 6-month moving average has been included.

Housing Starts

The Population-Adjusted Reality

Here is the data with a simple population adjustment. The Census Bureau’s mid-month population estimates show substantial growth in the US population since 1959. Here is a chart of housing starts as a percent of the population. We’ve added a linear regression through the monthly data to highlight the trend.

Housing Starts Population-Adjusted

A Footnote on Volatility

The extreme volatility of this monthly indicator is the rationale for paying more attention to its 6-month moving average than to its noisy monthly change.

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