Today’s reads on Housing Starts and Building Permits came in mixed relative to expectations and also in terms of revisions. First the bad news. In the case of Housing Starts, the seasonally adjusted annualized reading (SAAR) for August came in at 1.126 mln, which was below the consensus forecast of 1.16 mln. Along with the weaker than expected headline number, July’s reading was also revised down from 1.206 mln to 1.161 mln.b
Although Housing Starts were weaker and revised lower, Building Permits beat expectations and were revised higher. While economists were expecting overall permits to come in at 1.159 mln SAAR, the actual reading came in at 1.117 mln. Along with the stronger than expected reading for August, July’s reading was revised slightly higher (from 1.119 mln up to 1.130 mln).
The table below breaks down this morning’s housing data by region and types of unit. For Housing Starts, the m/m decline was uniform across both multi and single family units, which both fell 3%. On a regional basis, though, there was a lot more disparity. While Starts in the South rose 7.1%, every other region saw declines with the 33.7% decline in the Northeast leading the way to the downside. In the case of Building Permits, multi-family (4.7%) units saw slightly more growth than single family units (2.8%) on a m/m basis, but both were pretty close to the overall headline reading. Regionally, the Northeast was once again weak with Building Permits falling 4.4% m/m while every other region of the country saw gains. In the case of Northeast data, part of the weakness in both Housing Starts and Building Permits was likely due to the continued impact of the expiration of building tax credits in New York.