U.S. Housing Starts Fall 4% in July from Previous Month

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, privately owned housing starts in July fell 4.0% from the previous month, but rose 0.6% on a year-over-year basis.

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July housing starts reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.19 million, down from 1.24 million starts the previous month. July 2018 housing starts reached 1.18 million.

Meanwhile, single‐family housing starts came in at a rate of 876,000, marking a 1.3% increase from June’s 865,000. For units in buildings with five units or more, the July rate came in at 303,000.

July housing units authorized by building permits came in at a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.34 million units, up 8.4% from June’s 1.23 million units. The July total marked a 1.5% year-over-year increase from July 2018’s 1.32 million units.

Authorizations for single-family housing in July came in at a rate of 838,000, up 1.8% from June’s 823,000, while authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more came in at a rate of 453,000 in July.

Lastly, July housing completions came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.25 million, up 7.2% from June’s 1.67 million and up 6.3% from July 2018’s 1.18 million. Completions for single-family housing reached a rate of 918,000, up 4.3% from June’s 880,000. Completions of units in buildings with five units or more reached a rate of 321,000.

In other news, late last month the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported pending home sales jumped 2.8% in June, marking the second consecutive month of pending home sales growth.

The NAR’s Pending Homes Sales Index jumped 2.8% to 108.3 in June, up from 105.4 the previous month.

Contract signings in July were up 1.6% on a year-over-year basis, ending a 17-month streak of year-over-year declines, according to the NAR.

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“Homes are selling at a breakneck pace, in less than a month, on average, for existing homes and three months for newly constructed homes,” said Lawrence Yun, the NAR’s chief economist. “Furthermore, homeowners’ equity in real estate has doubled over the past six years to now nearly $16 trillion. But the number of potential buyers exceeds the number of homes available. We need to see sizable growth in inventory, particularly of entry-level homes, to assure wider access to homeownership.”

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