Housing starts and building permits increase below expectations

The US housebuilding industry improved again in July, with more housing starts and building permits awarded on a monthly and annual basis.

Housing starts in the month hit 896,000 in the month, up 5.9 per cent (±14.5 percentage points) from an upwardly revised 846,000 the month before and 20.9 per cent (±12.9 percentage points) above the July 2012 rate of 741,000. Analysts had expected to see an increase to 900,000.

Yesterday, a survey by the National Association of Home Builders found that confidence increased unexpectedly in August. Its index, which measures home sales and expected home building in the future, rose to 59 from 56.

Meanwhile, the number of building permits for new construction projects – an indicator of corporate investment – rose 2.7 per cent (±0.8 percentage points) to 943,00 from 911,000 in June and 12.4 per cent (±1.3 percentage points) above the July 2012 estimate of 839,000. Analysts had expected to see an increase to 945,000.

The number of houses completed over the month came to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 774,000. This is 1.8 per cent (±12.9 percentage points) above the revised June estimate of 760,000 and 15.0 per cent (±17.9 percentage points) above the July 2012 rate of 673,000.