Housing Starts and Permits Dip

From Reuters:

Housing starts, permits dip; still strong

The pace of U.S. housing construction slowed in February as permits, starts and completions fell, the government said on Thursday in a report pointing to moderation after a five-year rally in the housing market.

The Commerce Department said February housing starts dropped 7.9 percent to a 2.120 million annual pace, still faster than expected, from an upwardly revised 2.303 million unit rate in January.

Starts fell 23.5 percent in the U.S. Northeast, the biggest drop since May 2001. Construction declined 11.2 percent in the South and 10.4 percent in the Midwest, but rose 7.9 percent in the West.

Permits for future groundbreaking, an indicator of builder confidence, fell 3.2 percent to a 2.145 million unit pace from January’s revised 2.216 million unit pace. Economists had expected permits to ease more, to a 2.110 million unit pace in February.

With rising mortgage rates, the U.S. housing market has begun to cool after a years-long run that shattered sales and construction records, and sent prices soaring more than 55 percent on average across the country. Long-term fixed mortgage rates climbed in February, according to data from mortgage finance company Freddie Mac.

Despite the negative spin, the starts and permits numbers were both still very strong. Builders are clearly showing no signs of slowing nationwide.

Further Information can be found at:

Census Bureau- New Residential Construction

For the Northeast:

Total Permits
Down 4.7% from January 06
Up 7.4% from February 05

Total Authorized, But Not Started
Up 6.3% from January 06
Up 9.0% from February 05

Total Started
Down 23.5% from January 06
Down 12.9% from February 05

Total Under Construction
No Change from January 06
Up 14.4% from February 05

Total Completed
Up 15.7% from January 06
Up 14.4% from February 05

Please note the confidence levels of these numbers, they can be found in this months report on the Census Bureau website.

Caveat Emptor!

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