Today's release of Housing Starts and Building Permits for the month of August came in weaker than expected. With respect to starts, economists were expecting the actual level to come in at a SAAR of 917K, while the actual reading was just 891K. Permits missed by a modestly larger margin, as the actual reading came in at a level of 918K versus economists estimates of 950K.
The table below breaks out today's reports based on types of units and the regional breakdown. While the headline numbers for both Housing Starts and Building Permits were weaker than expected, all of the weakness was in multi-family units. Starts of multi-family units declined by 11.1% on a m/m basis, while Building Permits declined by 15.7%. While multi-family units declined, single family units both increased. In fact, starts of single family units increased by 7% compared to July, which was the largest monthly gain this year. At the same time Building Permits for single family units came in at their highest level since May 2008. Since single family units have a more positive economic impact than multi-family units, that strength was a silver lining in an otherwise lackluster report.
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