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Housing Starts: Solid Start to '17

February 16, 2017
Bottom Line: Housing starts rose in January to 1.25 million annualized units from December's previously reported level of 1.225 Million units. However, December was revised even higher, now reported to have been 1.28 million on even greater strength in multifamily housing starts. The trend in single-family housing starts remains remarkably steady, growing in the face of three months of higher mortgage rates. Multifamily starts, while volatile, are now trending just slightly higher again.

Housing Starts FELL by 2.6% in January to 1246k, compared with market expectations for no change to 1226k. Meanwhile, the prior month was revised moderately higher from 1,226k to 1,279k. Housing starts had been slowly climbing, albeit amid substantial volatility, since reaching their cyclical nadir in April 2009. They are now 10.5% ABOVE their year ago level. But they are still a sharp 45.2% BELOW their January 2006 peak.

Single Family Housing Starts ROSE by 1.9% to 823k. Single family housing starts are 6.2% ABOVE their year ago level but still 54.9% BELOW their January 2006 peak.

Multifamily Housing Starts FELL by 10.2% to 423k. Multifamily starts are now 19.8% ABOVE their year ago level.