Thursday morning's release of Housing Starts and Building permits for the month of December came in at their highest levels since the Summer of 2008. While Building Permits actually came in slightly lower than expectations (903K vs. 905K), Housing Starts exceeded expectations by a wide margin (954K vs. 890K). The charts below show Building Permits and Housing Starts in terms of both their levels and their year-over-year change (%).
As shown, Housing Starts rose by 36.8% y/y while building permits rose by 28.8% y/y. For both of these indicators, y/y growth has been in the double-digits for 15 straight months. Finally, while the numbers reported in Thursday's release seem impressive based on the last several months' worth of data, we would note that the levels of both indicators are closer to their historical lows than their historical highs.