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By New_Deal_democrat November 18, 2015 1:45 pm
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Housing permits and starts tell 2 different stories
Right now housing and cars are carrying the US economy, in the face of a shallow industrial recession partly in the Oil patch, and partly about the strong US$. Today's housing report is still affected, as to multi-unit dwellings, by the rush to obtain permits in NYC during May and June due to the expiration of an assistance program. 
  
Here is the longer term look at housing permits (blue) and starts (red) dating back to the beginning of 2013.  Remember that starts tend to lag permits by a month or so, and starts are about twice as volatile as permits:  
 

Permits rose,although not to May-June levels, while starts performed a faceplant.

Since the NYC program had no significant affect on single family housing, let's look at single family starts (blue), single family permits (red), and multi-family starts (green):

 

In October single family permits were at the highest since December 2007 -- nearly 8 years ago.  It appears that much of the permits surge in May and June turned into starts in June through September, with a big decline in October, the lowest number since March. 

I anticipate that the lingering effects of the NYC program on monthly numbers should be over by the end of this year -- although the distortions in YoY comparisons will linger for another year.

Since starts, while more volatile and slightly less leading than permits, represent the actual economic activity, June appears to represent the temporary peak.  This should feed into general economic activity next summer, with a pause in the autumn of 2016.

Here is a longer term view of single family permits and starts, and multi-unit starts:

 
 
Multi-unit construction is running at the highest rate in almost 30 years, while single family house construction continues at a subpar level.
 
There is a lot of pent up demand especially from the large Millennial generation.  This is putting upward pressure on rents:
 
 
I see every reason for the boom in multi-unit construction to continue, so long as interest rates do not spike.
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