ACTIONABLE ADVICE FOR FINANCIAL ADVISORS: Newsletters and Commentaries Focused on Investment Strategy

Follow us on

Content Channels

Most Popular This Month

Most Popular This Year

New Residential Building Permits: April Disappoints Forecast

May 17, 2016

by Jill Mislinski

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have now published their findings for April new residential building permits. Revisions were made back to January of 2014.

The latest reading of 1.116M was below the Investing.com forecast of 1.130M.

Here is the opening of this morning's monthly report:

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,116,000. This is 3.6 percent (±1.3%) above the revised March rate of 1,077,000, but is 5.3 percent (±1.3%) below the April 2015 estimate.

Single-family authorizations in April were at a rate of 736,000; this is 1.5 percent (±0.8%) above the revised March figure of 725,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 348,000 in April. [link to report]

Here is the complete historical series, which dates from 1960. Because of the extreme volatility of the monthly data points, a 6-month moving average has been included.

Housing Permits

Here is the data with a simple population adjustment. The Census Bureau's mid-month population estimates show substantial growth in the US population since 1960. Here is a chart of housing starts as a percent of the population. We've added a linear regression through the monthly data to highlight the trend.

Housing Permits Population-Adjusted

A Footnote on Volatility

The extreme volatility of this monthly indicator is the rationale for paying more attention to its 6-month moving average than to its noisy monthly change. Over the complete data series, the absolute MoM average percent change is 4.4%. The MoM range minimum is -24.0% and the maximum is 33.9%.

For visual confirmation of the volatility, here is a snapshot of the monthly percent change since 1990.


For additional perspectives on residential real estate, here is the complete list of our monthly updates: