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News : US Economy Last Updated: Jul 18, 2014 - 11:31 AM

US new housing activity in June not sign of robust economy
By Michael Hennigan, Finfacts founder and editor
Jul 18, 2014 - 8:24 AM

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US housing starts in June were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 893,000, a little over half of the estimated normal build rate. Other housing indicators for the month were also poor in a sign that the economy continues to struggle.

The Census Bureau said the annual housing start rate was 9.3% below the revised May estimate of 985,000, but is 7.5% above the June 2013 rate of 831,000.

Single-family housing starts in June were at a rate of 575,000; this is 9.0% below the revised May figure of 632,000. The June rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 305,000.

Housing units authorised by building permits/ planning permissions in June were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 963,000. This is 4.2% below the revised May rate of 1,005,000, but is 2.7% above the June 2013 estimate of 938,000.

Housing completions in June were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 789,000. This is 12.0% below the revised May estimate of 897,000, but is 3.4% above the June 2013 rate of 763,000. Single-family housing completions in June were at a rate of 586,000; this is 6.5% below the revised May rate of 627,000. The June rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 198,000.

Neil Irwin of The New York Times said that the United States needs to build "something on the order of 1.5m" new housing units a year to keep up with a growing population and older homes falling into disrepair. "The nation hasn’t consistently built more than 1m a year since the 2008 recession. Instead, home-building activity has mostly been bouncing around in the 900,000 to 1m range since the start of 2013, not exhibiting any clear signs of acceleration."

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