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News : US Economy Last Updated: Sep 21, 2011 - 1:56 AM

US housing starts fell in August; New home construction at lowest since at least 1970
By Finfacts Team
Sep 20, 2011 - 2:31 PM

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Blue: single family; Red: multi-units such as apartment blocks, which are incremental to single family units.

US housing starts fell in August while there were fewer homes were under construction in the month than at any time on records dating back to 1970.

However, there was a signal of a rise in construction projects as newly issued building permits, a measure of future construction, rose 3.2% from a month earlier to an annual rate of 620,000, the highest level since last December.

The US Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly announced the following new residential construction statistics for August 2011:

Building Permits: Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 620,000. This is 3.2% above the revised July rate of 601,000 and is 7.8%  above the August 2010 estimate of 575,000.

Single-family authorizations in August were at a rate of 413,000; this is 2.5% above the revised July figure of 403,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 178,000 in August.

Housing Starts: Privately-owned housing starts in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 571,000. This is 5.0%  below the revised July estimate of 601,000 and is 5.8% below the August 2010 rate of 606,000.

The normal range is about 1m to 1.5m starts per year.

Single-family housing starts in August were at a rate of 417,000; this is 1.4% below the revised July figure of 423,000. The August rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 148,000.

Housing Completions: Privately-owned housing completions in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 623,000. This is 2.7% below the revised July estimate of 640,000, but is 2.6% above the August 2010 rate of 607,000.

Single-family housing completions in August were at a rate of 477,000; this is 0.2% below the revised July rate of 478,000. The August rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 143,000.

Housing Starts & Permits: Starts are down 5% and permits are up 3.2%, so it's a middling number that's not great and not terrible, reports CNBC's Rick Santelli:

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