The only important economic data released this morning was a report from the U.S. Census Bureau, which showed that privately-owned housing starts in November grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 1.090 million units. That was a sharp 18.7 percent decline from October’s upward-revised print and a much larger pullback than analysts had anticipated. Regionally, housing starts decreased across the country in November, with the largest losses seen in the Northeast (-52.1%) and the West (-22.1%). Most of the weakness last month was due to a 43.9 percent plunge in multi-family (rental) units but single-family housing starts also declined in November (-4.1 percent). Last month’s drop, though, largely offset the outsized October gain, which was the best month for housing starts since 1982. However, total starts were still down 6.9 percent on a year-over-year basis in November as momentum in the housing market has clearly softened in the face of rising home values and more recently higher mortgage rates. Moreover, total building permits, a popular gauge of future construction activity, declined 4.7 percent last month, which goes against yesterday’s apparent spike in homebuilder sentiment.
Sources: Econoday, Bloomberg, Twitter, ZH, U.S. Census Bureau, FRBSLPost author: Charles Couch