AgentMarkets & Economy

Census Bureau delivers another wonky month of housing start results

Single-family homes had highest sales in August since 2008, but housing starts are still sluggish
  • Sales of new single-family homes climbed 5.7 percent to 552,000 above a revised July rate of 522,000.
  • Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in August climbed 3.5 percent to nearly 1.2 million.
  • Privately-owned housing starts in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.126 million, a 3-percent drop since July’s estimated 1.161 million.

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development delivered their joint report on housing starts for the month of August today -- and with it, another mixed bag for the housing market. After reporting slower-than-expected new home starts in July, the agencies said sales of new single-family homes climbed 5.7 percent to 552,000 above a revised July rate of 522,000. That’s not only the highest result for new single-family home sales reported since 2008, but it’s also a 21.6-percent increase above the August 2014 estimate of 454,000. In other good news, privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in August climbed 3.5 percent to nearly 1.2 million above July’s revised rate of 1.13 million, which is also 12.5 percent above August 2014’s estimate of 1.04 million. Single-family authorizations in August rose 2.8 percent to 699,000 above July’s revised figure of 680,000; authorizations of units in buildings with five or more unit...