October 18, 2006

By David F. Seiders
NAHB Chief Economist

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Housing Starts Bounce Back but Building Permits Fall in September
Housing starts increased nearly 6 percent in September to an annual rate of 1.772 million from a 1.674 million pace in August. Stepped up construction in the Midwest and South more than made up for declines in the Northeast and West. However, housing starts, which increased for the first time since May 2006, are down 18 percent from one year earlier. Building permits dropped for the 8th consecutive month in September, falling 6.3 percent to an annual rate of 1.619 million, 28 percent below a year earlier.

Housing Starts for September 2006
% Change
Download Housing Starts
1.674 M
+ 5.9%

Read the full report and download data for Housing Starts and Building Permits.

Key Indicators for the Housing Industry

Housing Market Statistics

Discover all of the key data and primary indicators for the housing industry in one easy-to-navigate location. Full Sample

Housing Starts

(PDF & PowerPoint)

 Manufactured Homes

(Excel & PowerPoint) 

 New Sales

(Excel & PowerPoint)

(Excel & PowerPoint)

Download All the Housing Market Statistics

Housing Market Statistics offers 35 different tables, downloadable either as Excel or PDF files (updated weekly). Access to this key housing data is available only to HousingEconomics.com subscribers.  Sample 

Resindential Construction Workers Across States and Congressional Districts

Newly released data from the American Community Survey (ACS) conducted by the US Census Bureau shows that more than 10.5 million people worked in construction in 2005. NAHB estimates that out of this total more than 4.8 million worked in residential construction, accounting for 3.5% of the US employed civilian labor force. This article analyzes the new ACS employment data, combines it with the recent data from the Quarterly Census of Employment Statistics (QCEW) by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and presents new NAHB estimates of residential construction (RC) employment by state and Congressional district.

HousingEconomics.com Subscribers  click here to read the full report.


The Seiders' Report: Monthly Overview of the U.S. Housing Industry


• Growth of U.S. economic output (real Gross Domestic Product) slowed substantially in the second quarter and the slowdown has extended into the second half of the year. Housing now is the weakest major sector of the economy (in growth terms) and the drag from the downswing in housing production will hold GDP growth below trend over the balance of 2006 and into 2007.
• The housing sector was a major employment generator during the boom that ran from mid-2003 through early 2006, and the housing downswing now is taking a toll on payroll employment. However, a surging nonresidential construction sector is essentially offsetting that slack and overall job growth is holding up reasonably well —at least on a quarterly average basis. Furthermore, the unemployment rate still is bouncing around the lows for this cycle.
• Core inflation still is running on the high side and business labor costs still are rising at a brisk pace. However, the evolving slowdown in economic growth and job creation should help keep unit labor costs in check, and the recent impressive fallback in energy costs will help stem the “leakage” of higher energy prices into the core. The Federal Reserve and financial market participants apparently concur with this assessment.
• The Fed held monetary policy steady at the September 20 meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, the second consecutive “no change” decision following 17 straight quarter-point rate hikes. We expect the Fed to hold short-term rates steady over the balance of this year and into 2007, and the next rate adjustment may very well be downward.
• The fixed-income markets have feasted on the evolving economic slowdown, the likelihood of receding core inflation and the prospects for stable (or even easier) monetary policy during the period ahead. As a result, long-term interest rates have fallen substantially since mid-year and should remain close to current levels for some time.
• Recent statements by both the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board reveal strong focus at our central bank on the evolving housing downswing as well as a good bit of uncertainty about how the housing “adjustment” will play out. Major uncertainty surrounds the pattern of prospective house price adjustments as well as associated impacts on the housing wealth effect that’s been supporting consumer spending for several years.
• The Federal Reserve’s balance sheets for the household sector of the economy show a record level of homeowner equity at mid-2006. However, the second-quarter gain was smaller than earlier in the economic expansion, reflecting the slowdown in house price appreciation, and the ratio of mortgage debt to the market value of homes moved up to some degree--trends that are likely to continue for some time.
• Recent housing indicators suggest that the downslide in housing demand may be nearing an end. However, demand remains in a weakened condition and there’s still a heavy supply of for-sale housing on the market, pointing toward further declines in starts of new units in the months ahead.
• NAHB’s housing forecast shows a mid-2007 trough in housing production, an extended period of erosion in “real” house values, a gradually weakening housing wealth effect and only limited negative economic fallout from “payment shock” on “exotic” adjustable-rate mortgages written during the housing boom  —messages I recently delivered in the U.S. Sen ate and in an NAHB teleconference.
 Please note: This information is available only to HousingEconomics.com subscribers. Download a free Sample.

Construction Forecast Conference is Now Closed - Webcast Still Available

The NAHB Construction Forecast Conference registration is now closed. However, if you couldn't register to attend this event next Wednesday, October 25th, you can take part through our webcast.

Watch a webcast of what's on the horizon for the housing industry at the semi-annual gathering of the country's premier economists and finance experts.

Get the latest on economic trends, government policies, and developments in the housing industry.

Register Now for the Webcast  (Please make your selection at the registration type entry on the registration form.)

Building Permits & Employment Data by Metro Areas

Building Permits and Employment data by States and Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), are available for download (Excel tables).


Also Available for HousingEconomics.com subscribers:


Useful Links to Monitor Economic and Housing Trends

The following are links to useful information from goverment  agencies and NAHB that will enable you to monitor the housing market.

To access the latest information available, simply click the links.


NAHB produces the Housing Market Index (HMI), a weighted, seasonally adjusted statistic derived from ratings for present single-family sales, single-family sales in the next six months and buyers traffic. The first two components are measured on a scale of "good" "fair," and "poor," and the last one is measured on a scale of "high," "average," and "low."

  • Characteristics of New Housing
    Highlights the latest data on new-home characteristics released by the U.S. Census Department. Includes links to the complete Census report and other trends researched by NAHB.

    Additional breakouts of these data and other trends researched by NAHB are available at www.nahb.org/constructionstats under “Selected Characteristics of New Housing” (dated 6/13/2006).

  • OFHEO Home Price Index
    The index measures average home appreciation in more than 250 metropolitan markets. Updated quarterly.

Calendar: Data Releases for November 2006

Mark your calendar for all of  the housing industry key data and primary indicators for November 2006.

Click here to print the schedule of release dates for economic indicators. (Excel)

To see the rest of the 2006 release date calendar, please click here.

Do You Know How Housing Impacts Your Local and State Economies?

NAHB does. Look ahead with the Home Builders Forecasts by region and type such as:

  • State and Metro Forecasts — Includes Starts Forecast, Excel tables of Total, Single-Family, and Multifamily Housing Starts by Regions, States and the Top 100 Metropolitan areas (See free samples).
  • Executive-level Forecast — Monthly forecast of economic activity, inflation, interest rates, and housing activity; the Executive-level forecasts contain an executive summary, in-depth detail, and historical data with annual and quarterly forecasts for all indicators (Sample).

Whether you advise, consult or work specifically on improving your own company’s profitability, you can rely on the premier data source for the U.S. housing industry, HousingEconomics.com

The NAHB Economics Group has provided research and analytical solutions to member companies and professional economists since 1970. This kind of editorial excellence and in-depth analysis can only be found at www.HousingEconomics.com.

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