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Housing Starts UP 14% in June, 629K Annual Rate, October's Fire Sale?

June House Starts at 629K Annual Rate, trend unchanged. Big builders starting October's fire sale homes again? #p#in

Last Update: 2011-07-20 08:03:08

Get used to the new normal. Slow housing starts, many of them subsidized in one way or another. So far as single family homes, the fact is we don't really need new ones. Not until household formations improve, which will be brought about by....job growth and income growth, which is beyond the scope of this article.

Housing starts rose 14.6% in June, according toCommerce Department data, continuing gains of the prior month and coming in well above most analysts' estimates.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, starts increased to the highest level since January at 629,000, up from a revised 549,000 for May and nearly 17% higher than 539,000 a year earlier.

But, there is no change in the underlying trend, the five month average floating between 550 and 500k since mid-2009.

June is the month big builders target to start the last of the homes they plan to close in a fiscal year. Many times, these starts are budget and forecast driven, not market driven and result in fire sales in October and November.

Below are first a chart of the last few years with the 5 month average line plotted and you can see there's no change in the underlying trend. Second below is a 10 year chart that adds perspective of where we are relative to history -- below any normal we've ever known!

[Chart]

Census Bureau 10 Year Chart of Housing Starts

Analysts polled by Econoday were expecting housing starts to come in at 575,000 with a range of estimates between 550,000 and 600,000. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch projected starts to come in at 580,000 for June.

In a joint release, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development said single-family starts climbed 9.4% in June to a seasonally adjusted rate of 453,000 units, up from a revised 414,000 for May.

June's increase comes on the heels of a 3.5% increase in May. Starts dropped 22.5% in February, which was the largest monthly decline since March 1984.

Building permits in June rose 2.5% to an annual rate of 624,000 from a revised 609,000 for the prior month.

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