The new data for residential building activity for January 2014 has been released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The brief report contained the following data:
- January building permits for private owned housing units is 937,000 permits. This is a seasonally adjusted figure. This figure registers 5.4 percent below the revised figure of 991,000 for December.
- January permit numbers are 2.4 percent higher than the estimated 919,000 permits issued in January 2013.
- Single-family authorizations came in at 602,000, this is 1.3 percent below the revised December rate of 610,000.
- Permit authorizations for buildings that contain five or more units was at 309,000 in January.
- Housing starts for the privately owned sector came in at a seasonally adjusted rate of 880,000 units. This is 16 percent lower than the adjusted figures for December of 1,048,000. This figure is also two percent lower than January 2013 figures of 898,000.
- Housing starts for single family homes registered at 573,000 units. This figure is 15.9 percent lower than the adjusted figures for December.
- Starts for buildings with five or more housing units came in at 300,000 units.
- Housing competitions of privately owned units came in at a seasonally adjusted rate of 814,000 units. This is 4.6 percent higher than the adjusted December rate of 778,000 units. This figure is also 13.1 percent higher than the January 2013 figures.
- Single family housing units registered a three percent increase over December figures at 580,000.
- Multiunit buildings with five or more units registered at 220,000 completions.
About The Data
The data released in this report is subject to change at a later date. The two government agencies releasing this report have noted:
“…month-to-month changes in seasonally adjusted statistics often show movements which may be irregular. It may take 2 months to establish an underlying trend for building permit authorizations, 4 months for total starts, and 6 months for total completions. The statistics in this release are estimated from sample surveys and are subject to sampling variability as well as non-sampling error including bias and variance from response, non-reporting, and under coverage.”
The report for January may show several inaccuracies due to the severe weather that the country has been experiencing during December and January. Many government offices have been routinely closed due to the weather during this period, and the facts and figures may not all be accounted for to generate a completely accurate report.
The variables in this report were very high in comparison to other government reports. Consumers who are carefully watching these reports to indicate trends in the housing market should take this report with “a grain of salt.” This data should only be used in conjunction with other relevant housing market data to draw any conclusions on the housing market at this time.
Most experts believe that due to the very strong winter much of the country has been experiencing, first quarter numbers in these areas are going to be very skewed and not a true representation of the housing market.