WHOA: HOUSING STARTS CRUSH EXPECTATIONS AND SURGE 12.1%

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Housing starts surged 12.1 percent in December to 954,000 at an annualized rate. November housing starts were revised down to 851,000 from a prior reading of 861,000.

Economists expected starts to rise just 3.3 percent to 890,000.

Building permits climbed 0.3 percent to 903,000, missing expectations of a 0.5 percent rise.

Below is text from the release via the Census Bureau:

BUILDING PERMITS

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 903,000. This is 0.3 percent (±1.0%)* above the revised November rate of 900,000 and is 28.8 percent (±1.4%) above the December 2011 estimate of 701,000.

Single-family authorizations in December were at a rate of 578,000; this is 1.8 percent (±1.0%) above the revised November figure of 568,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 301,000 in December.

An estimated 813,400 housing units were authorized by building permits in 2012. This is 30.3 percent (±1.1%) above the 2011 figure of 624,100.

HOUSING STARTS

Privately-owned housing starts in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 954,000. This is 12.1 percent (±13.4%)* above the revised November estimate of 851,000 and is 36.9 percent (±22.0%) above the December 2011 rate of 697,000.

Single-family housing starts in December were at a rate of 616,000; this is 8.1 percent (±9.7%)* above the revised November figure of 570,000. The December rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 330,000.

An estimated 780,000 housing units were started in 2012. This is 28.1 percent (±2.6%) above the 2011 figure of 608,800.

HOUSING COMPLETIONS

Privately-owned housing completions in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 686,000. This is 1.6 percent (±14.7%)* above the revised November estimate of 675,000 and is 13.2 percent (±13.4%)* above the December 2011 rate of 606,000.

Single-family housing completions in December were at a rate of 535,000; this is 3.7 percent (±12.3%)* above the revised November rate of 516,000. The December rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 144,000.

An estimated 651,400 housing units were completed in 2012. This is 11.4 percent (±4.6%) above the 2011 figure of 584,900.



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