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Construction Permits Up, Completed Constr Down

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Even though the volume of housing permit issuance was up last month, the pace of completed construction slowed. Construction starts were little changed.

In municipalities where
permits are issued for single-family and multifamily properties, new construction was authorized on 114,000 housing units during July.

Activity last month — the slowest month since February — brought total permits issued for U.S residential housing from Jan. 1 through July 31 of this year to 787,600 units.

The construction data was jointly reported Thursday by the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

When the data is seasonally adjusted, however, the annual rate of permit issuance
was 1.311 million. Activity accelerated from an upwardly revised 1.292 million in June and an upwardly revised 1.258 million in July 2017.

On just one-unit properties, the seasonally adjusted annual rate was 869,000 in July 2018, while it came in at 410,000 on properties with at least five units.

The overall permit issuance rate was 126,000 in the Northeast, climbing from a month earlier by 5.9 percent — the most of any region. The rate jumped 5.8 percent in the Midwest to 183,000, while it inched up 1.2 percent in the West to 334,000.

Only the South dipped — 0.3 percent to 668,000.

A seasonally adjusted 175,000 U.S. housing units were authorized but not started as of July 31.

A statement from the National Association of Home Builders said, “Some projects are experiencing construction start delays due to cost concerns, with the number of single-family units authorized but not started up 25 percent since July 2017.”

Home builders broke ground on new residential construction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.168 million last month. The rate rose 0.9 percent from the downwardly revised level in June but fell 1.4 percent from the upwardly revised rate for July of last year.

As of July 31, a seasonally adjusted 1.122 million housing units were under construction.

July 2018’s completed construction came to
100,900 units, while the year-to-date total was 677.300.

Home builders completed construction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.188 units, a 1.7 percent decline from the prior month’s downwardly revised level and a 0.8 decline from the upwardly revised rate for a year prior.

One-unit construction was completed at
an annual rate of 814,000, dropping by more than 5 percent from June. But multifamily construction was completed at a rate of 371,000, an 8.2 percent improvement.

In the Northeast, completed construction skyrocketed 65.8 percent from the preceding month to an annual seasonally adjusted rate of 126,000. A 7.6 percent rise left the Midwest’s rate at 184,000.

But in the South, the rate fell 6.0 percent to 565,000, and it plunged 13.3 percent in the West to 313,000.

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