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February housing starts fell by -10.3 %

Housing Starts U.S. Economic Indicators


The construction of new homes, as well as the issuance of new building permits declined in February, signaling slowdown in economic growth and decrease in business profitability.
In February U.S. housing starts dropped by -10.3 % on the seasonally adjusted basis to annual rate of 1,421,000 units, a decrease of 163,000 units from 1,584,000 in January. Most of decline took place in the Northeast and it was concentrated in multi-dwelling buildings such as apartments.

New building retreated -39.5 % to annual rate of 440,000 units in the Northeast while the construction of multi-family units decreased -15.0 % accounting for 26.81 % of total construction. As demand for renting apartments declines.

The government cautions that its monthly housing data are volatile and subject to large sampling and other statistical errors. In most months, the government can't be sure whether starts increased or decreased.

In construction of housing units was bellow average rate of 1,215,060 housing starts. Housing starts dropped by -9.1 % from Feb. 2020, home construction in the Midwest decreased the most, by -29.2 %.



Housing Starts

  M/M Y/Y
  Northeast -39.49% -1.67%
  Midwest -34.91% -29.23%
  South -9.71% -17.71%
  West 17.65% 19.57 %
  Single-family -8.45% 0.29 %
  2 - 4 units -30.77% -43.75%
  5 or more units -14.48% -27.20%


Permits dropped by -10.8 % or 204,000 units to an annual rate of 1,421,000 units, from 1,584,000 in January on the seasonally adjusted basis Demand for building permits fell the most in the South and it was concentrated in multi-dwelling buildings such as apartments.

The issuance of new permits declined -13.9 % to annual rate of 725,000 units in the South while the permits for multi-family units decreased -12.5 % accounting for 26.81 % of total building permits issued.

Permits indicate whether demand for new homes is growing or slowing. Compare to a year ago monthly building permits soared by 15.8 %




Permits By Region
  • In Northeast housing units were authorized at seasonally adjusted annual rate of 174,000 units, an decrease of 19,000 units, or -9.84 % from 193,000 units Jan. 2021 and an increase of 31.82 % from 132,000 units Feb. 2020.


  • In Midwest housing units were authorized at seasonally adjusted annual rate of 249,000 units, an increase of 3,000 units, or 1.22 % from 246,000 units Jan. 2021 and an increase of 22.06 % from 204,000 units Feb. 2020.


  • In West housing units were authorized at seasonally adjusted annual rate of 426,000 units, an decrease of 54,000 units, or -11.25 % from 480,000 units Jan. 2021 and an increase of 11.81 % from 381,000 units Feb. 2020.
  • In South housing units were authorized at seasonally adjusted annual rate of 833,000 units, an decrease of 134,000 units, or -13.86 % from 967,000 units Jan. 2021 and an increase of 13.33 % from 735,000 units Feb. 2020.

New Housing Units Authorized
(Seasonally adj., at Annual Rate, units), units)
Feb. 2021

prel.
Jan. 2021

prel.
Dec. 2020

prel.
Nov. 2020

prel.
Oct. 2020

prel.
Total
1,682,000 1,886,000 1,709,000 1,639,000 1,545,000
In structures Single-family units
1,143,000 1,270,000 1,226,000 1,143,000 1,120,000
In structures with 2 - 4 units
44,000 56,000 46,000 55,000 60,000
In structures with 5 units or more
495,000 560,000 437,000 441,000 365,000
Northeast
174,000 193,000 141,000 149,000 134,000
Midwest
249,000 246,000 251,000 219,000 213,000
South
833,000 967,000 879,000 868,000 821,000
West
426,000 480,000 438,000 403,000 377,000



New Housing Units Authorized
(Seasonally adj., at Annual Rate, units), in M / M)
Feb. 2021
prel.
Jan. 2021
prel.
Dec. 2020
prel.
Nov. 2020
prel.
Oct. 2020
prel.
Total -10.82 % 10.36 % 4.27 % 6.08 % -0.52 %
In structures Single-family units -10 % 3.59 % 7.26 % 2.05 % 0.09 %
In structures with 2 - 4 units -21.43 % 21.74 % -16.36 % -8.33 % 36.36 %
In structures with 5 units or more -11.61 % 28.15 % -0.91 % 20.82 % -6.41 %
Northeast -9.84 % 36.88 % -5.37 % 11.19 % -11.26 %
Midwest 1.22 % -1.99 % 14.61 % 2.82 % 3.4 %
South -13.86 % 10.01 % 1.27 % 5.72 % 0.86 %
West -11.25 % 9.59 % 8.68 % 6.9 % -1.31 %



New Housing Units Authorized
(Seasonally adj., at Annual Rate, units), in % Y/Y)
Feb. 2021
prel.
Jan. 2021
prel.
Dec. 2020
prel.
Nov. 2020
prel.
Oct. 2020
prel.
Total 15.84 % 21.6 % 20.69 % 11.19 % 5.75 %
In structures Single-family units 13.73 % 28.67 % 33.84 % 24.1 % 22.94 %
In structures with 2 - 4 units -2.22 % 33.33 % 9.52 % 44.74 % 25 %
In structures with 5 units or more 23.13 % 7.28 % -4.59 % -14.37 % -27.29 %
Northeast 31.82 % 5.46 % 5.22 % -6.29 % -2.9 %
Midwest 22.06 % 9.33 % 21.26 % 6.31 % 18.99 %
South 13.33 % 29.8 % 27.76 % 17.93 % 6.21 %
West 11.81 % 20.6 % 13.18 % 8.04 % 1.62 %



New Housing Units Started
(Seasonally adj., at Annual Rate, units)
Feb. 2021

prel.
Jan. 2021

prel.
Dec. 2020

prel.
Nov. 2020

prel.
Oct. 2020

prel.
Total
1,421,000 1,584,000 1,669,000 1,547,000 1,530,000
In structures Single-family units
1,040,000 1,136,000 1,338,000 1,186,000 1,179,000
In structures with 2 - 4 units
9,000 13,000 19,000 9,000 17,000
In structures with 5 units or more
372,000 435,000 312,000 352,000 334,000
Northeast
118,000 195,000 107,000 135,000 78,000
Midwest
138,000 212,000 251,000 196,000 219,000
South
725,000 803,000 858,000 809,000 859,000
West
440,000 374,000 453,000 407,000 374,000



New Housing Units Started
(Seasonally adj. at Annual Rate, units), in Y / Y)
Feb. 2021
prel.
Jan. 2021
prel.
Dec. 2020
prel.
Nov. 2020
prel.
Oct. 2020
prel.
Total -10.29 % -5.09 % 7.89 % 1.11 % 8.13 %
In structures Single-family units -8.45 % -15.1 % 12.82 % 0.59 % 6.41 %
In structures with 2 - 4 units -30.77 % -31.58 % 111.11 % -47.06 % 41.67 %
In structures with 5 units or more -14.48 % 39.42 % -11.36 % 5.39 % 13.22 %
Northeast -39.49 % 82.24 % -20.74 % 73.08 % -46.21 %
Midwest -34.91 % -15.54 % 28.06 % -10.5 % 32.73 %
South -9.71 % -6.41 % 6.06 % -5.82 % 13.77 %
West 17.65 % -17.44 % 11.3 % 8.82 % 6.86 %



New Housing Units Started
(Seasonally adj. at Annual Rate, in % Y/Y)
Feb. 2021
prel.
Jan. 2021
prel.
Dec. 2020
prel.
Nov. 2020
prel.
Oct. 2020
prel.
Total -9.14 % 1.08 % 3.79 % 12.51 % 14.18 %
In structures Single-family units 0.29 % 12.48 % 26.82 % 24.97 % 28.99 %
In structures with 2 - 4 units -43.75 % 30 % 11.76 % -55 % 41.67 %
In structures with 5 units or more -27.2 % -20.48 % -41.79 % -13.3 % -19.32 %
Northeast -1.67 % 9.55 % -19.55 % 27.36 % -32.17 %
Midwest -29.23 % 17.78 % -1.18 % 5.95 % 22.35 %
South -17.71 % 3.21 % 5.93 % 9.18 % 24.13 %
West 19.57 % -13.23 % 10.22 % 18.66 % 5.65 %



New Housing Units Authorized
(Not seasonally adjusted, units)
Feb. 2021

prel.
Jan. 2021

prel.
Dec. 2020

prel.
Nov. 2020

prel.
Oct. 2020

prel.
Total
117,200 128,800 134,100 120,200 133,000
In structures Single-family units
80,900 83,900 88,800 80,000 94,500
In structures with 2 - 4 units
3,100 3,600 3,600 4,100 5,400
In structures with 5 units or more
33,200 41,300 41,700 36,200 33,100
Northeast
10,800 13,400 12,700 12,200 11,600
Midwest
13,400 12,600 16,100 16,600 21,300
South
63,000 70,400 66,700 61,500 67,800
West
30,000 32,400 38,500 29,900 32,300



New Housing Units Authorized
(Not seasonally adjusted, in Y / Y)
Feb. 2021
prel.
Jan. 2021
prel.
Dec. 2020
prel.
Nov. 2020
prel.
Oct. 2020
prel.
Total -9.01 % -3.95 % 11.56 % -9.62 % -0.89 %
In structures Single-family units -3.58 % -5.52 % 11 % -15.34 % -0.84 %
In structures with 2 - 4 units -13.89 % 0 % -12.2 % -24.07 % 35 %
In structures with 5 units or more -19.61 % -0.96 % 15.19 % 9.37 % -5.16 %
Northeast -19.4 % 5.51 % 4.1 % 5.17 % -14.71 %
Midwest 6.35 % -21.74 % -3.01 % -22.07 % 7.58 %
South -10.51 % 5.55 % 8.46 % -9.29 % -1.74 %
West -7.41 % -15.84 % 28.76 % -7.43 % 1.57 %


New Housing Units Authorized
(Not seasonally adjusted, in % Y/Y)
Feb. 2021
prel.
Jan. 2021
prel.
Dec. 2020
prel.
Nov. 2020
prel.
Oct. 2020
prel.
Total 16.97 % 13.98 % 24.98 % 11.81 % 0.99 %
In structures Single-family units 14.27 % 19.18 % 42.31 % 25.39 % 18.42 %
In structures with 2 - 4 units -3.13 % 20 % 12.5 % 41.38 % 28.57 %
In structures with 5 units or more 26.72 % 4.29 % 0 % -11.27 % -30.61 %
Northeast 36.71 % 8.06 % 8.55 % -3.17 % -10.08 %
Midwest 30.1 % 0.8 % 24.81 % 7.1 % 11.52 %
South 14.34 % 17.53 % 28.76 % 19.19 % 1.04 %
West 11.52 % 14.89 % 24.6 % 7.17 % -0.92 %







New Housing Units Started
(Not seas. adj. at Annual Rate, units)
Feb. 2021

prel.
Jan. 2021

prel.
Dec. 2020

prel.
Nov. 2020

prel.
Oct. 2020

prel.
Total
100,700 111,000 113,300 117,500 132,000
In structures Single-family units
72,200 77,100 89,300 87,800 101,000
In structures with 2 - 4 units
700 900 1,400 700 1,400
In structures with 5 units or more
27,800 33,000 22,600 29,000 29,600
Northeast
7,100 13,800 7,400 10,900 7,300
Midwest
7,100 11,500 14,800 15,700 21,400
South
54,800 59,500 60,600 60,600 71,300
West
31,700 26,300 30,600 30,300 32,000






New Housing Units Started
(Not seas. adj. at Annual Rate, in Y / Y)
Feb. 2021
prel.
Jan. 2021
prel.
Dec. 2020
prel.
Nov. 2020
prel.
Oct. 2020
prel.
Total -9.28 % -2.03 % -3.57 % -10.98 % 5.6 %
In structures Single-family units -6.36 % -13.66 % 1.71 % -13.07 % 3.8 %
In structures with 2 - 4 units -22.22 % -35.71 % 100 % -50 % 40 %
In structures with 5 units or more -15.76 % 46.02 % -22.07 % -2.03 % 10.86 %
Northeast -48.55 % 86.49 % -32.11 % 49.32 % -45.11 %
Midwest -38.26 % -22.3 % -5.73 % -26.64 % 34.59 %
South -7.9 % -1.82 % 0 % -15.01 % 8.85 %
West 20.53 % -14.05 % 0.99 % -5.31 % 5.26 %







New Housing Units Started
(Not seas. adj. at Annual Rate, in % Y/Y)
Feb. 2021
prel.
Jan. 2021
prel.
Dec. 2020
prel.
Nov. 2020
prel.
Oct. 2020
prel.
Total -9.52 % 1.74 % 4.42 % 13.97 % 14.98 %
In structures Single-family units -0.96 % 12.39 % 30.17 % 27.8 % 31.51 %
In structures with 2 - 4 units -41.67 % 28.57 % 16.67 % -58.82 % 27.27 %
In structures with 5 units or more -25.27 % -17.09 % -41.6 % -11.31 % -19.78 %
Northeast -5.33 % 12.2 % -20.43 % 26.74 % -31.13 %
Midwest -33.02 % 23.66 % -0.67 % 6.08 % 25.15 %
South -18.21 % 3.48 % 7.45 % 11.6 % 25.53 %
West 20.99 % -12.62 % 9.68 % 19.29 % 5.96 %

Source U.S. Department of Commerce

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