The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Census Bureau jointly announced the following new residential construction statistics for July 2020.
Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in July were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,495,000. This is 18.8 percent (±1.1 percent) above the revised June rate of 1,258,000 and is 9.4 percent (±1.5 percent) above the July 2019 rate of 1,366,000. Single‐family authorizations in July were at a rate of 983,000; this is 17.0 percent (±1.2 percent) above the revised June figure of 840,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 467,000 in July.
Privately owned housing starts in July were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,496,000. This is 22.6 percent (±14.7 percent) above the revised June estimate of 1,220,000 and is 23.4 percent (±12.4 percent) above the July 2019 rate of 1,212,000. Single‐family housing starts in July were at a rate of 940,000; this is 8.2 percent (±10.3 percent)* above the revised June figure of 869,000. The July rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 547,000.
Privately‐owned housing completions in July were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,280,000. This is 3.6 percent (±14.9 percent)* above the revised June estimate of 1,236,000 and is 1.7 percent (±12.8 percent)* above the July 2019 rate of 1,258,000. Single‐family housing completions in July were at a rate of 909,000; this is 1.8 percent (±16.8 percent)* below the revised June rate of 926,000. The July rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 364,000.
In interpreting changes in the statistics in this release, note that month-to-month changes in seasonally adjusted statistics often show movements which may be irregular. It may take three months to establish an underlying trend for building permit authorizations, six months for total starts, and six months for total completions. The statistics in this release are estimated from sample surveys and are subject to sampling variability as well as nonsampling error including bias and variance from response, nonreporting, and undercoverage. Estimated relative standard errors of the most recent data are shown in the tables. Whenever a statement such as “2.5 percent (±3.2 percent) above” appears in the text, this indicates the range (-0.7 to +5.7 percent) in which the actual percentage change is likely to have occurred. All ranges given for percentage changes are 90 percent confidence intervals and account only for sampling variability. If a range does not contain zero, the change is statistically significant. If it does contain zero, the change is not statistically significant; that is, it is uncertain whether there was an increase or decrease. The same policies apply to the confidence intervals for percentage changes shown in the tables. On average, the preliminary seasonally adjusted estimates of total building permits, housing starts and housing completions are revised 3 percent or less. Explanations of confidence intervals and sampling variability can be found at the Census Bureau’s website.
* The 90 percent confidence interval includes zero. In such cases, there is insufficient statistical evidence to conclude that the actual change is different from zero.