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August Housing Starts Decline Further Than Expected

Housing starts across the U.S. are down further than expected, yet there is a silver lining in the recently released data. Housing starts in August fell to 1.416 million, according to the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is down 5.1% from July but up 2.8% from August 2019.

Economists polled by Reuters expected starts to dip to 1.478 million, while Wells Fargo's forecast was a decline to 1.437 million.

Despite the drop in overall unit starts, single-family housing starts increased 4.1% in August and is ahead of August 2019 by 12.1%. "There is a good chance single-family starts will post a fifth consecutive increase next month," states a release from Wells Fargo Securities. "Single-family starts have risen for the past four months and are currently running 50% above their April low."

Meanwhile, building permits slipped 0.9% month-to-month, and permits are down 0.1% from a year ago. Housing completions are also on the decline, 7.5% below July and 2.4% below August 2019.

"Consistent with surging builder confidence, single-family starts rose in August to meet rising buyer traffic," said National Association of Home Builders Chairman Chuck Fowke in a release. "Builders continue to face concerns in terms of rising lumber prices and supply chain shortages of other building materials."

-Michael Miller, managing editor

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Friday, 23 October 2020