New Home Construction On Pace For Record Low in 2011

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In 1959 the census bureau first started keeping track of new home construction activity and reported that there were 1.5 million new homes started that year. In 2005 a record high 1.7 million new homes were started and in 2009 a record low 445,100 new homes. In 2010 there was a little improvement as there were 471,200 new homes started and things were looking up a bit, however, unless something changes dramatically, 2011 will hit a new record low of new home starts.

The U.S. Census Bureau and US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued their report on New Residential Construction for July 2011 showing a very slight increase in single-family home building permits from the month before (0.5 percent), and a 1.2 percent decrease in new home starts compared to the year before.

The report shows the following new home construction activity for July 2011:

  • Building permits issued for single-family residences were at an annual rate of 404,000 homes which is 0.5 percent above the prior month and a decrease of 1.2 percent from a year before.
  • Housing starts for single-family residences were at an annual rate of 425,000 which is a decrease of 4.9 percent from the prior month and a decrease of 0.9 percent from a year before.
  • Homes completed were at an annual rate of 470,000 homes, which is an increase of 6.1 percent from the prior month and a decrease of 1.3 percent from a year before.

As I say every month, we need to remember that all the numbers above are “seasonally adjusted” annual rates and the year over year comparisons are just comparing the numbers for the current month versus the a year before. Another way I like to look at where things stand is to simply look at the year to date data; actual numbers, not seasonally adjusted, compared to last years ytd numbers at this same time. I think this may give a little better comparison so those numbers are below:

  • For 2011 there have been 243,400 permits issued for new homes compared with 283,000 this time year for a decrease of 14.0 percent.
  • For 2011 there have been 253,000 new homes started compared with 297,300 this time last year for a decrease of 14.9 percent.
  • For 2011 there have been 237,100 new homes completed compared with 283,600 this time last year for a decrease of 16.4 percent.

Let’s do one of my favorite things and look at the raw numbers and not seasonally-adjusted numbers to compare construction activity to sales:

  • In the 12 month period through June 2011 (the most recent period sales data is available for) there were 300,000 new homes sold and there were 489,000 new homes completed, outpacing sales by 63 percent.

 

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