WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Census Bureau jointly announced the following new residential construction statistics for January 2017:
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,285,000. This is 4.6 percent (±2.0 percent) above the revised December rate of 1,228,000 and is 8.2 percent (±1.6 percent) above the January 2016 rate of 1,188,000. Single-family authorizations in January were at a rate of 808,000; this is 2.7 percent (±1.9 percent) below the revised December figure of 830,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 446,000 in January.
Privately-owned housing starts in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,246,000. This is 2.6 percent (±11.0 percent)* below the revised December estimate of 1,279,000, but is 10.5 percent (±15.3 percent)* above the January 2016 rate of 1,128,000. Single-family housing starts in January were at a rate of 823,000; this is 1.9 percent (±10.8 percent)* above the revised December figure of 808,000. The January rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 421,000.
Privately-owned housing completions in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,047,000. This is 5.6 percent (±8.0 percent)* below the revised December estimate of 1,109,000 and is 0.9 percent (±15.0 percent)* below the January 2016 rate of 1,056,000. Single-family housing completions in January were at a rate of 800,000; this is 4.3 percent (±7.5 percent)* above the revised December rate of 767,000. The January rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 244,000.
New Residential Construction data for February 2017 will be released on Thursday, March 16, 2017.
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 at the Census Bureau’s website.