Economic Snapshot: Housing starts and builder confidence up year-over-year

Housing dipped a bit this month, which is no surprise entering the winter months. However, it is encouraging to see the significant changes year-over-year. Even with monthly declines, the housing market is looking healthy. 

Housing starts

Privately-owned housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,065,000 in January, 2.0 percent below the revised December estimate of 1,087,000 but 18.7 percent above the January 2014 rate of 897,000.

Single-family housing starts were at a rate of 678,000 in January. This is 6.7 percent below the December figure of 727,000, which saw the highest level of single-family housing starts since March 2008. Single-family starts are up 16 percent YOY.

Privately-owned housing completions were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 930,000 in January, 1.3 percent above the December estimate of 918,000 and 9.4 percent above the January 2014 rate of 850,000.

Single-family housing completions were at a rate of 649,000 in January, 2.3 percent below the December rate of 664,000.

Housing market index

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index fell two points to 55 in February. This is the seventh consecutive score above 50 for the index and significantly higher than the score of 46 in February 2014.

Two of the three index components posted declines this month. Current sales conditions dipped one point to 61 and the component measuring buyer traffic dropped five points to 39. The third component, sales expectations, remained unchanged at 60.

The index decreased by one point in the Northeast to 46 while the Midwest and South fell two points to 54 and 57, respectively. The West saw the only increase this month, up two points to 68.

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