WASHINGTON – 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 December 2016:
Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,210,000. This is 0.2 percent (±1.8%)* below the revised November rate of 1,212,000, but is 0.7 percent (±1.6%)* above the December 2015 estimate of 1,201,000. Single-family authorizations in December were at a rate of 817,000; this is 4.7 percent (±1.7%) above the revised November figure of 780,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 355,000 in December. An estimated 1,186,900 housing units were authorized by building permits in 2016. This is 0.4 percent (±0.8%)* above the 2015 figure of 1,182,600.
Privately owned housing starts in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,226,000. This is 11.3 percent (±10.4%) above the revised November rate of 1,102,000 and is 5.7 percent (±12.0%)* above the December 2015 rate of 1,160,000. Single-family housing starts in December were at a rate of 795,000; this is 4.0 percent (±9.2%)* below the revised November figure of 828,000. The December rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 417,000. An estimated 1,166,400 housing units were started in 2016. This is 4.9 percent (±2.5%) above the 2015 figure of 1,111,800.
Privately owned housing completions in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,123,000. This is 7.9 percent (±11.4%)* below the revised November rate of 1,219,000, but is 8.7 percent (±10.1%)* above the December 2015 rate of 1,033,000. Single-family housing completions in December were at a rate of 761,000; this is 0.9 percent (±9.3%)* below the revised November rate of 768,000. The December rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 355,000. An estimated 1,062,300 housing units were completed in 2016. This is 9.7 percent (±3.4%) above the 2015 figure of 968,200.
New Residential Construction data for January 2017 will be released on Thursday, February 16, 2017, at 8:30 A.M. EST.
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 two months to establish an underlying trend for building permit authorizations, 4 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%) above” appears in the text, this indicates the range (-0.7 to +5.7 percent) in which the actual percent change is likely to have occurred. All ranges given for percent 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 percent changes shown in the tables. On average, the preliminary seasonally adjusted estimates of total building permits, housing starts and housing completions are revised about three percent or less. Explanations of confidence intervals and sampling variability can be found on our web site listed above.
* 90% confidence interval includes zero. The Census Bureau does not have sufficient statistical evidence to conclude that the actual change is different from zero.