US housing starts up in July, permits at 14-mth low

WASHINGTON, Aug 17 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. housing starts rose but
to a much weaker rate than expected in July, while permits for
future home construction fell to their lowest level in more
than a year, according to a government report on Tuesday that
pointed to a weak housing market.

The Commerce Department said housing starts rose 1.7
percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 546,000 units.
June’s housing starts were revised to show an 8.7 percent fall,
which was previously reported as a 5 percent drop.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected housing starts to
rise to 560,000 units. Compared to July last year,
groundbreaking activity was down 7 percent.

New building permits, which give a sense of future home
construction, dropped 3.1 percent to a 565,000-unit pace last
month, the lowest level since May 2009.

That followed a 1.6 percent rise in June and compared to
analysts’ forecasts for a slip to 580,000 units.

The end in April of a popular homebuyer tax credit has left
a void in the housing market, depressing sales and building
activity. Sentiment among home builders touched a 17-month low
in August, a survey showed on Monday.

The rise in housing start last month reflected a 32.6
percent surge in groundbreaking activity in the volatile
multifamily segment to an annual rate of 114,000 units.
Single-family homes starts fell 4.2 percent to a 432,000-unit
pace, the lowest since May 2009.

Home completions tumbled a record 32.8 percent to an
all-time low 587,000-unit pace. The inventory of total houses
under construction fell 1.1 percent to a record low 444,000
units last month, while the total number of units authorized
but not yet started dropped 1.5 percent 89,000 units.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

US housing starts up in July, permits at 14-mth low