The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development reported this morning that new housing starts in August rose to an annual seasonally adjusted rate of 891,000, an increase of 0.9% from the upwardly revised July rate of 883,000, and a gain of 19% above the August 2012 rate of 749,000. The consensus estimate from a survey of economists expected a rate of around 915,000.
The seasonally adjusted rate of new building permits fell to 918,000, which is 3.8% below the upwardly revised July rate of 954,000 and 11% higher than the July 2012 rate of 827,000. The consensus estimate called for 950,000 new permits.
Single-family housing starts rose to an annualized rate of 628,000 in August, up 7% from the downwardly revised July rate of 587,000.
Permits for new single-family homes rose 3% in August to an adjusted annual rate of 627,000 from an upwardly revised total of 609,000 in July.
Information on multifamily housing is sketchy for August because the Census Bureau's data does not meet the agency's standards for reliability on buildings of two to four units. Starts on buildings with five or more units fell 9.4% month-over-month in August, but remain 22.9% higher than August 2012.