Housing starts fall unexpectedly

After some statistics seemingly providing hope to many that the housing bottom may be over, it is reported today that housing starts on condominiums and apartments as well as building permits both fell.

Housing starts unexpectedly slid 13 percent to an annual rate of 458,000, led by a 46 percent tumble in multifamily starts, which tend to be more volatile, Commerce Department figures showed in Washington. Building permits, a sign of future construction, fell 3.3 percent to a record low of 494,000.

Breaking this down, we get construction of single-family homes at 368,000, an almost 3% rise from last month but it was multifamily homes, such as townhouses and apartment buildings, which caused the number to reach a historic low after plummeting to an annual rate of 90,000 from 167,000 last month.

This news also came unexpected as a lot of economists forecast a much better number than this.

Starts were projected to increase to a 520,000 annual pace from a 510,000 previously estimated pace the prior month, according to the median forecast of 74 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Estimates ranged from 465,000 to 564,000.

Building permits were forecast to rise to a 530,000 annual rate, according to the survey median.

Borrowing a graph from the blog Calculated Risk:

startssales

Source: BloombergCalculated Risk

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