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Wednesday
Dec192012

New Home Sales Weaker Than Expected

Housing starts for the month of November came in slightly weaker than expected this morning (861K vs 871K) and declined slightly from last month's level of 888K.  In the charts below, we show the changes in housing starts going back to 1959 on both an absolute (left side) and year over year basis (right side).  In both sets of charts, recessions are highlighted in gray.  In terms of the breakdown between single and multi family units, single family units (down 24K units) accounted for the bulk of the drop which is considered a modest negative.  On a year over year basis, housing starts rose by 21.6%, but here we saw stronger growth relative to last year in single family units versus multi family units.
The charts below show changes in Housing Starts on a regional basis.  Starts were weakest in the West where we saw nearly a 20% decline from 213K last month to 172K in November.  In the Midwest and Southern regions, Housing Starts actually bucked the broader trend and saw modest growth of 3%.  With memories of the housing bust still fresh in investors minds, today's drop in starts may cause some to think that we are on the verge of another decline, but it is important to remember the old adage that one month does not make a trend.

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