Housing Starts Still Low But Permits On The Rise

The Mountain Life Team Blogger August 17, 2011

Housing Starts 2009-2011Single-Family Housing Starts fell to a seasonally-adjusted, annualized 425,000 units in July, according to the Census Bureau.

A “Housing Start” is defined as a home on which construction has started and ground has broken.

Furthermore, Single-Family Housing Starts were revised lower for both May and June of this year, by 6,000 units and 2,000 units, respectively. The data may be worthless, however.

Like in most months, the government’s official report states that the Housing Starts numbers have a margin of error exceeding their actual measurement. Mathematically, this renders the data statistically irrelevant.

  • July Published Results : +4.9%
  • July Margin of Error : ±8.9%

In other words, July Housing Starts made have increased by as much as 13.8%, or they may have dropped up to 4.0%. We won’t know for certain until several months from now, when the Census Bureau gathers more data.

Regardless, the trend in Housing Starts has been flat since last summer. July’s reading is in-line with the 12-month average and, not surprisingly, New Home Sales have been mostly flat over the same time span.

Housing starts here in the North Georgia Mountains remain about the same, very low. I feel until we get through all of the Foreclosures we will see very few, if any speculative building. It would be very hard for Builders to compete with low prices Bank Owned Properties. Let’s face it, you just simply cannot hardly build a home for what you can buy one for on the open market. I guess finding the right one may be a challenge, but then again maybe you just need an educated hard working Realtor®!

There is some custom building going on here in areas like Blue Ridge, Blairsville and Ellijay Georgia. With all the great deals on Land For Sale in North Georgia, it has been hard for Real Estate Investors and folks who had planned on retiring years down the road to go ahead and make those preparations now taking full advantage of today’s market prices.

Also included in the Housing Starts report is the Building Permits tally. As compared to June, permits were higher by a half-percent nationwide, with varying results by region.

  • Northeast : +2.9 percent from June
  • Midwest : +0.0 percent from June
  • South : -1.4 percent from June
  • West : +4.9 percent from June

When permits are issued, 86 percent of them start construction within 60 days. This means that new home sales and housing stock should follow the Building Permits trend, but on a 2-month delay.

Expect improvement into the fall season.

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