New Home Permits and Construction Drop in July; Still outpacing new home sales though

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The U.S. Census Bureau and US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a their report on New Residential Construction for July 2010 showing a decrease in single-family home building permits and a decrease in new home starts from June.

The report shows the following:

  • Building permits issued for single-family residences in July were at an annual rate of 416,000 which is 1.2 percent below the revised June rate of 421,000 and a decrease of 13.2 percent from a year ago when the rate was 479,000.
  • Housing starts for single-family residences in July were at an annual rate of 432,000 which is a decrease of 4.2 percent from the revised rate for June of 451,000 and an decrease of 13.6 percent from a year ago.
  • Homes completed in July were at a rate of 490,000 homes, a decrease of 27.5 percent from June’s revised rate of 676,000 homes and a decrease of 1.4 percent from a year ago.

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 July 2010 versus July 2009. 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:

  • Through July 2010 there have been 283,800 permits issued for new homes compared with 249,000 this time last year for an increase of 14.0 percent.
    • In July there were 38,600 permits issued, a decrease of 10.2 percent from June.
  • Through July 2010 there have been 297,600 new homes started compared with 251,400 this time last year for an increase of 18.4 percent.
    • In July there were 41,100 new homes started, a decrease of 9.5 percent from June.
  • There have been 284,700 new homes completed through July 2010, exactly the same as this time last year.
    • In July there were 40,100 new homes completed, a decrease of 33.4 percent from June.

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:

  • Through the end of June, 2010 (the most recent period sales data is available for) there have been 183,000 new homes sold and there have been 244,600 new homes completed, outpacing sales by 33.7 percent.
    • For the 12-month period July 2009 through June 2010 there were 371,000 new homes sold and there were 521,200 new homes completed, outpacing sales by 40.5 percent.
  • Through the end of June there have been 256,500 new homes started outpacing the new ytd home sales activity through June by 40.2 percent.

As expected, building permits and starts have dropped after the temporary spike upward which was the result of home-buyers rushing to beat the tax-credit deadline of April 30th. An ongoing concern of mine however is that new home starts and permits continue to outpace new home sales in both YTD numbers as well as in the prior 12 month period and the rate is growing. Replenishing inventory of new homes would make sense if the underlying real estate market was showing some solid signs of recovery and growth but unfortunately it is not so I’m afraid if this trend continues it is going to lead to an over-supply of new homes again which will not be good.


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