Tag Archives: Housing starts

PRAGCAP: Lumber Futures Could be Pointing to Improved Residential Construction

Lumber Futures Could be Pointing to Improved Residential Construction

By Walter Kurtz, Sober Look

Lumber futures turned out to be a good predictor of US housing starts. The large decline earlier this year (see post) translated into weaker than expected residential construction in June (see post). That means we should certainly pay close attention to lumber as a leading indicator. And July is showing a steady increase in prices, potentially pointing to improving demand (see figure 1).

After a disappointing result in June, is construction picking up this month ? Many economists think so. The key data that researchers point to is the Homebuilders’ survey, which is at the highest levels since 2006 (see figure 2).

The index had certainly diverged from housing starts in the past, but the combination of this survey and higher lumber prices may be pointing to an improvement in residential construction for July. The US economy could certainly use it.

Lumber futures

(Figure 1)

Homebuilder survey

(Figure 2 – Source: DB)

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CR: Housing Starts increase in May to 914,000 SAAR

Housing Starts increase in May to 914,000 SAAR

by Bill McBride on 6/18/2013 08:30:00 AM

From the Census Bureau: Permits, Starts and Completions

Housing Starts:
Privately-owned housing starts in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 914,000. This is 6.8 percent above the revised April estimate of 856,000 and is 28.6 percent above the May 2012 rate of 711,000.

Single-family housing starts in May were at a rate of 599,000; this is 0.3 percent above the revised April figure of 597,000. The May rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 306,000.

Building Permits:
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 974,000. This is 3.1 percent below the revised April rate of 1,005,000, but is 20.8 percent above the May 2012 estimate of 806,000.

Single-family authorizations in May were at a rate of 622,000; this is 1.3 percent above the revised April figure of 614,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 374,000 in April.

Total Housing Starts and Single Family Housing StartsClick on graph for larger image.

The first graph shows single and multi-family housing starts for the last several years.

Multi-family starts (red, 2+ units) increased in May following the sharp decrease in April (Multi-family is volatile month-to-month).

Single-family starts (blue) increased slightly to 599,000 SAAR in May (Note: April was revised down from 610 thousand to 597 thousand).

The second graph shows total and single unit starts since 1968.

Total Housing Starts and Single Family Housing StartsThis shows the huge collapse following the housing bubble, and that housing starts have been generally increasing after moving sideways for about two years and a half years.

This was below expectations of 950 thousand starts in May.  Total starts in May were up 28.6% from May 2012; however single family starts were only up 16.3% year-over-year.  I’ll have more later …

Read more at http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2013/06/housing-starts-increase-in-may-to.html#fAlroSTqdHu1xKy8.99

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