Housing Starts Unexpectedly Plunge 12.3% in June, Permits Down 2.2%

Economists were shocked by today's housing report. Let's go over the details.

Mortgage News Daily reports Housing Permits Soften, Starts Plummet.

All three measures of residential construction activity performed poorly in June, and the two most closely watched numbers, construction permits and housing starts, fell short of their June 2017 numbers.

Starts

  • The worst numbers were for privately authorized housing starts. They failed to hold on to their gain in May, dropping 12.3 percent to 1,173,000 units. May's estimate of 1,337,000 units was revised down from the original 1,350,000. The June estimate fell below the June 2017 pace by 4.2 percent.
  • The results didn't come close to meeting expectations. Analysts polled by Econoday had projected some softening from the May number, a 5.0 percent month-over-month increase as originally reported. Still they were looking for starts in the range of 1,285,000 to 1,350,000 units. Their consensus was 1,320,000.
  • Single-family starts were down 9.1 percent from May and off 0.2 percent from the June 2017 number. The June estimate was 858,000 units compared to 944,000 in May, the latter an upward revision from 936,000. Multifamily starts dropped by 20.2 percent to a rate of 304,000 units, 15.3 percent lower than the same period in 2017.

The results didn't come close to meeting expectations. Analysts polled by Econoday had projected some softening from the May number, a 5.0 percent month-over-month increase as originally reported. Still they were looking for starts in the range of 1,285,000 to 1,350,000 units. Their consensus was 1,320,000.

Permits

  • Construction permits were authorized in June at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,273,000, down 2.2 percent from the May rate of 1,301,000. This is 3.0 percent lower than the permitting pace in June 2017.
  • Analysts were expecting permits to increase from May, looking for results over a range of 1,300,000 to 1,360,000. Their consensus was 1,328,000 units.
  • Single family authorizations were up, rising 0.8 percent to an annually adjusted 850,000 units compared to 843,000 (revised from 844,000) in May and were 4.6 percent above the year-earlier rate. Multi-family permits fell by 8.7 percent to 387,000 and are 16.2 percent behind the June 2017 pace.

Completions

  • Housing completions held their ground, remaining at a rate of 1,261,000 units. The previous May estimate was revised down to that number from 1,291,000. Completions in June were 2.2 percent higher than a year earlier. Single-family completions were estimated at a rate of 862,000, down 2.3 percent for the month but ahead of last year by 5.3 percent. Multifamily completions rose 7.1 percent to 393,000 but are 2.7 percent lower than the prior June.
  • Completions in June numbered 113,500 on an unadjusted basis compared to 105,800 in May. There were 75,800 single family completions compared to 74,400 a month earlier. Completions in 2018 through June are 8.3 percent higher than the same period in 2017, 581,600 versus 537,000, and those for single-family units are up 8.4 percent.
  • At the end of the reporting period there were 1,121,000 homes nationwide in some phase of construction. Single-family units accounted for 515,000 of those underway. There were also 160,000 permits that had been issued but for which construction had not yet begun.

The Census Bureau's New Residential Construction report has more details.

Starts by Region

  • US: Down 12.3%
  • Northeast: Down 6.8%
  • Midwest: Down 35.8%
  • South: Down 9.1%
  • West: Down 3.0%

Wow. Revisions coming?

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments
No. 1-11
mpowerOR
mpowerOR

The Fed painted itself into this corner years ago when it normalized Quantitative Easing... there's no escape w/o destroying the $USD and/or the domestic economy - the Fed knew this going in, but decided that their personal golden-parachutes are more important that the future of the republic. Now it's just musical chairs among failing fiat interests, dreading the moment when the music stops.

DFWRealEstate
DFWRealEstate

But Powell says we need higher rates for a stronger economy. Good luck with that.

Mike Deadmonton
Mike Deadmonton

Maybe Ross shouldn't apply tariffs - especially if he holds stock in companies that would benefit from tariffs. How did that work out for Boeing to stop Bombardier airplanes?

Tengen
Tengen

You sure about that? He's usually a loose cannon, no telling what he'll say!

All kidding aside, if I were Yun I'd pre-record myself muttering a few blurbs:

  • We see home prices as still affordable
  • Rising prices indicate a healthy market
  • We forecast continued growth
  • Low unemployment means long term growth

And so on. Record these for a few days, then spend the other 51 weeks a year on a hammock in the Bahamas. NAR chief isn't a job, it's a sinecure. One of the easiest gigs ever.

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