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U.S. Housing Market Starts, Small Gain, But is Step in Right Direction

Housing-Market / US Housing Apr 20, 2011 - 02:09 AM GMT

By: Asha_Bangalore

Housing-Market

Housing starts rose 7.2% to an annual rate of 549,000 in March following an 18.5% drop in the prior month.  In the first quarter, total housing starts have risen at an annualized pace of 23.2%.  Single-family starts moved up 7.7% to an annual rate of 422,000 in March.  However, on a quarterly basis, starts of single-family units have dropped nearly 18%, which indicates that the entire gain in the first quarter came from multi-family starts.  These numbers suggest that residential investment expenditure most likely made a small positive contribution to real GDP in the first quarter.  The current level of housing starts is still down nearly 77% from the peak reading in January 2006 (1.823 million units). 


On a regional basis, housing starts increased in the Northeast (+5.4%), Midwest (+32.3%), and West (+27.6%) but dropped in the South (-3.3%).  Permit extensions increased for both multi-family (+25%) and single-family units (+5.7%).  These numbers bode positively for home construction activity in April. 


Asha Bangalore — Senior Vice President and Economist

http://www.northerntrust.com
Asha Bangalore is Vice President and Economist at The Northern Trust Company, Chicago. Prior to joining the bank in 1994, she was Consultant to savings and loan institutions and commercial banks at Financial & Economic Strategies Corporation, Chicago.

Copyright © 2011 Asha Bangalore

The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of The Northern Trust Company. The Northern Trust Company does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of information contained herein, such information is subject to change and is not intended to influence your investment decisions.


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