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 Housing Starts in April Better Than 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 housing starts. Revisions were made back to January of 2014.

The latest reading of 1.172M was above the Investing.com forecast of 1.127M.

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

Privately-owned housing starts in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,172,000. This is 6.6 percent (±10.2%)* above the revised March estimate of 1,099,000, but is 1.7 percent (±10.1%)* below the April 2015 rate of 1,192,000.

Single-family housing starts in April were at a rate of 778,000; this is 3.3 percent (±12.1%)* above the revised March figure of 753,000. The April rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 373,000. [link to report]

Here is the historical series for total privately-owned housing starts, which dates from 1959. Because of the extreme volatility of the monthly data points, a 6-month moving average has been included.

Housing Starts

The Population-Adjusted Reality

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 1959. 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 Starts 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 6.3%. The MoM range minimum is -26.4% and the maximum is 29.3%.

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: