New Housing Permits, Starts Drop in January
But Both Categories Up Year-Over-Year
New residential building permits and starts both dropped in the month of January, compared to December, but completions edged slightly higher month-over-month, a report from the U.S. Census Bureau shows.
A total of 1,202,000 permits were issued in January, a 0.2 percent decline from the previous month. But permits jumped 13.5 percent higher year-over-year.
There were 720,000 single-family permits authorized, a 1.6 percent drop from December. A total of 442,000 permits were issued to projects of five units of more, representing a 1.1 percent hike month-over-month.
Single-family permits rose 9.6 percent compared to January 2015, and multi-family authorizations jumped 17.9 percent year-over-year.
A total of 1,099,000 housing starts were recorded in January, and this is 3.8 percent below December's level, but 1.8 percent higher than January 2015.
Single-family housing starts in January were at a rate of 731,000. This is 3.9 percent lower month-over-month, but 3.5 percent higher compared to a year ago.
The January rate for buildings with five units or more was 354,000. This is 2.5 percent lower compared to December, and a decline of 3.8 percent year-over-year.
There were 1,057,000 housing completions in January, which is 2.0 percent higher compared to the previous month, and an increase of 8.4 percent from a year earlier.
Single-family housing completions in January were at a rate of 693,000, and this is 1.4 percent less than December, but 2.5 percent higher year-over-year.
The January rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 351,000. This is a hike of 8.7 percent over December, and 20.2 percent jump compared to January 2015.
Nationwide housing starts dropped 3.8 percent, while overall permit issuance edged down 0.2 percent, both month-over-month, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
"Despite the modest dip in starts this month, we expect to see ongoing, gradual growth in housing production in 2016," said David Crowe, chief economist for the NAHB. "An improving economy, solid job creation and pent-up demand for housing should keep the market moving forward."
"January's production numbers show that builders are being cautious as they face some market uncertainties and supply side constraints," said Ed Brady, chairman of the NAHB.