2011 Economic Calendar
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Event Definitions   |   Today's Calendar

Housing Starts
Released On 5/17/2011 8:30:00 AM For Apr, 2011
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Starts - Level - SAAR0.549 M0.552 M0.570 M0.549 M to 0.583 M0.523 M
Permits - Level - SAAR0.594 M0.574 M0.551 M

Highlights
Housing activity is continuing to confound and is refusing to establish any kind of uptrend. Housing starts in April fell back 10.6 percent, following a revised rebound of 12.9 percent in March. The April annualized pace of 0.523 million units posted below the median market forecast for 0.570 million units and is down 23.9 percent on a year-ago basis. The drop in April was led by a 24.1 percent fall in the volatile multifamily starts component, following a 30.8 percent jump in March. The single-family component dipped 5.1 percent after rebounding 7.0 percent in March.

The good news within the report was an upward revision to starts in March which were revised up to 0.585 million from the original estimate of 0.549 million.

By region, the drop in starts in was led by a monthly 23.0 percent plunge in the South with the Northeast declining 4.8 percent. However, gains were seen in the Midwest and West, up 15.7 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively.

Housing permits have been volatile in recent months but trending flat. Housing permits declined 4.0 percent in April, following a 7.5 percent surge the month before. Overall permits came in at an annualized rate of 0.551 million units and are down 12.8 percent on a year-ago basis.

The bottom line is that housing is flat and at anemic levels. Likely, we need to look to other sectors in the economy to keep the recovery moving forward. Recovery in housing appears to be some time off but that is not a surprise to many.

Recent History Of This Indicator
Housing starts in March rebounded 7.2 percent, following a monthly 18.5 percent drop in February. The March annualized pace of 0.549 million was down 13.4 percent on a year-ago basis. The improvement in March was led by a monthly 7.7 percent boost in single-family starts, following an 8.8 percent decrease in February. There may be modest improvement ahead for housing starts. Housing permits gained 11.2 percent in March after decreasing 5.2 percent the prior month. Overall permits came in at an annualized rate of 0.534 million units.

Definition
A housing start is registered at the start of construction of a new building intended primarily as a residential building. The start of construction is defined as the beginning of excavation of the foundation for the building.  Why Investors Care
 
[Chart]
Monthly figures are often volatile; housing starts fluctuate more than many indicators. It takes several months for total housing starts to establish a trend. Consequently, we have depicted total starts relative to a five month moving average.
Data Source: Haver Analytics
 

 

2011 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/192/163/164/195/176/167/198/169/2010/1911/1712/20
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov
 


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