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Construction Permits, Starts & Completions Down

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Although single-family permits held up from the previous month, multifamily dragged down overall authorizations. Also slowing from the previous month was the volume of construction started and completed.

Building permits were
issued on a preliminary 100,400 privately owned housing units during July, a joint report from the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development indicated.

Historical government data indicate that between Jan. 1 and July 31 of this year, permits were authorized on 728,500 single-family and multifamily housing units.

The latest activity brought the seasonally adjusted annual rate
of permits to 1.223 million, retreating from an upwardly revised 1.275 million in June. But the rate improved from an upwardly revised 1.175 million in July 2016.

One-unit permits had an annual rate of 811,000 during July, the same as a month earlier. But on properties with five or more units, the rate of permits tumbled 12 percent to 377,000.

At 171,000 in the Midwest, the overall seasonally adjusted annual rate of permits was a whopping 17 percent less than in June 2017 — giving the region the biggest decline. Permits were down 8 percent in the West to a rate of 315,000, while the South slipped 1 percent to 613,000.

But the Northeast saw a robust 19 percent gain last month to an annual rate of 124,000.

A seasonally adjusted 144,000 U.S. units were authorized but not yet started as of July 31, 2017 — including 77,000 one-unit homes and 65,000 multifamily units.

Construction began at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.155
million last month, off 5 percent from a month earlier and 6 percent from a year earlier.

A seasonally adjusted 1.063 million units were still under construction at the end of July — including 462,000 one-unit properties and 592 multifamily units.

Home builders completed construction on 100,500 total housing units during the most-recent month, bringing to
638,700 the number of housing units completed this year.

Construction was completed at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.175 million during July 2017. The total decreased from an upwardly revised 1.252 million the prior month but increased from an upwardly revised 1.086 million a year prior.

Completed construction came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 256,000 in the West, dropping from June by a quarter — more than in any other region.
The Northeast slowed 24 percent to a rate of 109,000, while the Midwest fell 18 percent to 176,000.

But the annual rate of construction completed jumped 15 percent in the South to 634,000.

The National Association of Home Builders issued a statement indicating the activity was in line with its forecast. The group
expects the new-home market to “firm” up as a growing economy and employment draw more consumers into the housing market.

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