March 20, 2007

By David F. Seiders
NAHB Chief Economist

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Housing Starts Rebound but Building Permits Down
Housing starts rebounded from a weak performance in January by advancing 9 percent in February 2007 to an annual rate of 1.525 million. Both the single-family and multifamily sectors participated in the February increase. However, authorizations for building permits declined nearly 3 percent in February to a 1.532 million annual rate and were about 29 percent below year-earlier levels. The permit decline was spearheaded by a 3 percent decline in single-family issuances.

Housing Starts and Building Permits for February 2007
% Change
Download Starts and Permits
1.399 M
+ 9.0%
1.571 M
- 2.5%

Read additional information and download data (Excel) for Housing Starts & Permits.

Emerging From Housing Boom's Dark Shadow -State Forecasts 2008

Housing markets with the biggest booms in 2004 and 2005 will generally be the slowest to return to normal levels of activity and those that showed more restraint will be the first to get back on track, according to the 2008 State Starts Forecast for single-family production released by this week.

The major exception is the Midwest, the hardest-hit region of the country where some key markets that have been languishing because of weak local economies aren’t likely to see brighter horizons until next year as job and income growth gradually improve.

The report notes that the correction that started last year has affected different markets to different degrees, “but even markets with few signs of over-heating during the boom have slowed considerably.”

“Nationally, the pace of housing starts in the fourth quarter of 2006 was down more than 29% from its peak in the third quarter of 2005,” the housing analysts say in an overview of their state and metro area housing starts forecast. “In local markets, half of the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas that NAHB forecasts were down between 15% and 40% from their 2005 level of production, while some of the most severely affected markets were down 50% or more from their 2005 highs.”

Nationally, NAHB is forecasting almost 1.2 million single-family housing starts in 2007, a 30.2% decline from a peak of almost 1.72 million in 2005, and 1.31 million in 2008, down 23.8%.

Double-digit rates of house price appreciation in 2004 and 2005 on the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight's House Price Index (HPI) “clearly indicate markets out of balance,” the report notes. Metro areas with prices climbing the fastest between the fourth quarter of 2003 and the same period of 2005 include: Naples, Fla. (70.5%); Bakersfield, Calif. (70.3%); Palm Beach, Fla., (67.4%); Cape Coral, Fla. (66.4%); and Phoenix (63.5%).

For the full report, including downloadable Excel tables of total single-family and multifamily housing starts by regions and states,  click here. (Please note this report is available for HousingEconomics subscribers only )

See a Free Preview.

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Housing Market Statistics -Quick Read

1.525 M
1.399 M
1.532 M
1.571 M
New Sales 
937 M
1.123 M
6.460 M
6.270 M
6.14 %
5.42 %
239.4 Th
221.6 Th

= Available for subscribers

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)

Housing Market Index 

(Webpage & PowerPoint)

 New SF Sales

(Excel & PowerPoint) 

Inventory of New Homes

(Excel & PowerPoint)

Download All the Housing Market Statistics

Housing Market Statistics offers 36 different tables, downloadable either as Excel or PDF files (updated weekly). Access to this key housing data is available only to subscribers.  Sample 

Building Permits, Employment and Population Data for States and Metros

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

Also available for subscribers:


Calendar: Data Releases for April 2007

Mark your calendar for all of  the housing industry key data and primary indicators for April 2007.

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

To see the 2007 release date calendar, please click here. (Excel)

Links You Need: Economic and Housing Trends

The following links from government agencies and NAHB will enable you to better 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 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.

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,

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

For more information or to contact us directly, please visit