New Residential Building Permits: Up 40K In August

homebuildersJill Mislinski:  The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have now published their findings for August new residential building permits.

The latest reading of 1.170M was better than the forecast of 1.160M.

Here is the opening of this morning’s monthly report:

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,170,000. This is 3.5 percent (±1.4%) above the revised July rate of 1,130,000 and is 12.5 percent (±1.9%) above the August 2014 estimate of 1,040,000.

Single-family authorizations in August were at a rate of 699,000; this is 2.8 percent (±1.7%) above the revised July figure of 680,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 440,000 in August. [link to report]

Here is the complete historical series, which dates from 1960. Because of the extreme volatility of the monthly data points, a 6-month moving average has been included.

Housing Permits

Here is the data with a simple population adjustment. The Census Bureau’s mid-month population estimates show substantial growth in the US population since 1960. Here is a chart of housing starts as a percent of the population. We’ve added a linear regression through the monthly data to highlight the trend.

Housing Permits Population-Adjusted

A Footnote on Volatility

The extreme volatility of this monthly indicator is the rationale for paying more attention to its 6-month moving average than to its noisy monthly change.

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