Volume 9, Issue 9 - October 2008

Industry Indices

Builders Rein-In Housing Production in July

Single-family home builders continued to practice aggressive inventory management in July by slowing the pace of new production nearly 3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 641,000 units, according to Commerce Department figures. This was the lowest rate of single-family housing starts since January 1991.

Following are some of the highlights from the latest report from the Commerce Department:

• For the second month in a row, overall housing starts and building permit numbers were skewed by a building code change in New York City that caused an unusually large fluctuation in multifamily activity for the Northeast region.

• A 23.6 percent decline in multifamily starts to 324,000 units partially offset a 41 percent gain in the previous month, and contributed to an 11 percent decline in total housing starts for July—dropping the seasonally adjusted annual rate to 965,000 units.

• Single-family permits declined 5.2 percent for the month to a 584,000-unit rate, the lowest since August 1982.

• Overall permit issuance and multifamily permit issuance, both heavily affected by the New York City data, declined 17.7 percent to 937,000 units and 32.4 percent to 353,000 units, respectively.

• The Midwest posted a 10 percent gain and the South and West each posted 8.2 percent declines, while the Northeast posted a 30.4 percent decline—also due to the New York City numbers.

• Permit issuance was mixed on a regional basis, with the Midwest posting a 1.4 percent gain, the South posting a 4.1 percent gain and the West registering a 14.8 percent decline. The Northeast’s permits, also affected by New York City data, fell 63.4 percent.


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