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Housing starts nosedive 14.4% in August

Below analyst expectations despite coming off a heated July

Privately-owned housing starts plunged 14.4% in August, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Starts were expected to drop after a strong July but not by this much.

Housing starts for July jumped to an annualized pace of 1.093 million units-up from 0.945 million units the prior month. July was up a sharp 15.7%.

Housing starts printed at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 956,000, well below analyst expectations, but 8% above the August 2013 rate of 885,000.

Single-family units remained largely flat as they have for the past 20 months, multifamily starts fell from 396,000 to 343,000, or 13.4% for permits, and an incredible 31.5% for starts.

Single-family housing starts in August were at a rate of 643,000; this is 2.4% below the revised July figure of 659,000. The August rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 304,000.

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 998,000. This is 5.6% below the revised July rate of 1,057,000, but is 5.3% above the August 2013 estimate of 948,000.

Single-family authorizations in August were at a rate of 626,000; this is 0.8% below the revised July figure of 631,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 343,000 in August.

Privately-owned housing completions in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 892,000. This is 3.2% above the revised July estimate of 864,000 and is 16.9% above the August 2013 rate of 763,000.

Single-family housing completions in August were at a rate of 591,000; this is 8.2% below the revised July rate of 644,000. The August rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 292,000. 

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