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U.S. Housing Starts Declined Sharply in July

By Maria Martinez

 

New residential construction in the U.S. fell more than expected in July and for the third consecutive month, dragged by higher interest rates and inflation eroding purchasing power. Here are the main takeaways from the Commerce Department's report published Tuesday:

--Housing starts, a measure of U.S. homebuilding, fell 9.6% in July compared with the previous month, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.446 million.

--Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal expected housing starts to fall 2.5% to 1.52 million.

--July housing starts were 8.1% below the same month a year earlier.

--Single-family housing starts decreased 10.1% on month, while starts for housing projects with five units or more fell 10.0%.

--Housing starts were upwardly revised to 1.599 million in June from an earlier estimate of 1.559 million.

--Monthly housing starts data are volatile. Data for July came with a margin of error of 8.6 percentage points.

--Residential permits, which can be a bellwether for future home construction, fell 1.3% in July compared with the previous month, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.674 million. Economists expected permits to fall 3.3% on month.

--Sentiment among home builders is deteriorating rapidly as demand slows. An indicator compiled by the National Association of Home Builders released Monday showed that confidence in the single-family housing market fell six points to a reading of 49 in August, marking the first month since May 2020 that the index fell below 50. A reading below 50 signals that the majority of builders view conditions in the single-family housing mark as poor.

 

Write to Maria Martinez at maria.martinez@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 16, 2022 08:57 ET (12:57 GMT)

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