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Housing Starts Rise to Highest Level Since July 2008

Housing starts for the month of October came in at an annualized rate of 894K, which was considerably higher than expectations of 840K.  It was also the highest monthly reading since July 2008.  The charts below show historical levels of housing starts going back to 1959 on both a monthly (left side) and year/year (right side) basis.  We also broke out the housing starts on a single and multi-family basis. 

This month's headline reading in housing starts showed an increase of 41.9% on a year/year basis.  As shown, though, much of the year/year increase was in the form of multi-family starts which came in at 300K, which was a 57% increase from last year's level.  While single-family starts came in at 594K, it only represented a year/year increase of 35.3%.

In the lower charts, we also broke out housing starts by region. During the month of October housing starts rose in the Midwest and West but fell in the Northeast and South.  Although Hurricane Sandy occurred at the end of October, it may have been responsible for some of the decrease in starts for the region.  However, given that the region accounts for less than 10% of total starts, we wouldn't expect Sandy to have much of an impact on this indicator going forward.

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