Housing starts increased 0.9% in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.168 million (Briefing.com consensus 1.256 mln) following a downwardly revised 1.158 million (from 1.173 mln) for June.
Building permits increased 1.5% to 1.311 million (Briefing.com consensus 1.316 mln) from an upwardly revised 1.292 million (from 1.273 mln) for June.
Permits for single-family units increased 1.9% to 869,000. Permits for multi-unit dwellings increased 0.7% to 442,000.
Single-family starts were down 5.7% in the Northeast, up 22.3% in the Midwest, up 2.0% in the South, and down 10.0% in the West.
The number of units under construction at the end of the period totaled 1.122 million units. That was a smidgen below the Q2 average of 1.123 mln, which points to a slight drag for Q3 GDP forecasts.The key takeaway from the report is the recognition that single-family starts rose just 0.9% to 862,000, which is a modest pace that likely reflects the headwinds builders are facing with higher costs for materials, labor, and land.