Housing Permits, Starts Hit 12-year High in November

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist


  • Home-building activity, measured by housing permits and starts ROSE in November with both hitting a post-Recession high
  • The seasonally adjusted annual rate of total starts ROSE 3.2 percent or 32,000 to1.37 million;
  • Starts for new single-family homes ROSE 2.0 percent or 18,000 to 936,000;
  • The rate of total housing completions ROSE 117,000 or 10.3 percent in October;
  • The SAAR of single-family completions ROSE 4.5 percent or 39,000.


  • Total permit activity for November rose to the highest level since May 2007;
  • Single-family permit activity rose to its highest level since August 2007;
  • Single-family housing starts were up year-year for the sixth straight month.

 Data Source: Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development

Image result for home building

Single- and multi-family homebuilding moved higher in November, reinforcing solid builder confidence levels according to the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The HUD-Census report showed housing activity reaching new post-recession highs, suggesting a comeback for housing. The home-building data reinforces strong builder confidence as suggested by the National Home Builders Association’s housing market index. That index rose to a 20-year high this month the NAHB reported Monday.

The rebound in builder sentiment suggests a recovery in the housing sector. New home sales which slipped slightly in October (the most recent data) are nonetheless up a solid 31.6 percent year over year due in large measure to low interest rates and falling prices. The median price of a new single-family home in October was $316,700m a drop of $11,600 or 3.5 percent from a year ago.  (The report on November new home sales and prices is scheduled for release next Monday.)

The uptick in both permits and starts comes as good news for construction employment which has seen slow growth in the last few months. The number of residential construction jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics grown just 0.8 percent since the beginning of the year compared with 3.8 percent growth in the first 11 months last year.

The increase in total permits was due largely to an increase in multi-family activity which accounted for 14,000 units compared with 7,000 single-family homes.

Hear Mark Lieberman every Friday at 6:20 am on POTUS Morning Briefing, Sirius-XM 124. You can follow him on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

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