WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Census Bureau jointly announced the following new residential construction statistics for February 2017:
Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,213,000. This is 6.2 percent (±1.8 percent) below the revised January rate of 1,293,000, but is 4.4 percent (±1.3 percent) above the February 2016 rate of 1,162,000. Single-family authorizations in February were at a rate of 832,000; this is 3.1 percent (±1.5 percent) above the revised January figure of 807,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 334,000 in February.
Privately owned housing starts in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,288,000. This is 3.0 percent (±13.0 percent)* above the revised January estimate of 1,251,000 and is 6.2 percent (±10.4 percent)* above the February 2016 rate of 1,213,000. Single-family housing starts in February were at a rate of 872,000; this is 6.5 percent (±10.9 percent)* above the revised January figure of 819,000. The February rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 396,000.
Privately owned housing completions in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,114,000. This is 5.4 percent (±9.6 percent)* above the revised January estimate of 1,057,000 and is 8.7 percent (±12.1 percent)* above the February 2016 rate of 1,025,000. Single-family housing completions in February were at a rate of 754,000; this is 6.5 percent (±9.7 percent)* below the revised January rate of 806,000. The February rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 344,000.
New Residential Construction data for March 2017 is scheduled for release on April 18, 2017.
In interpreting changes in the statistics in this release, note that month-to-month changes in seasonally adjusted statistics often show movements which may be irregular. It may take three months to establish an underlying trend for building permit authorizations, six months for total starts, and six months for total completions. The statistics in this release are estimated from sample surveys and are subject to sampling variability as well as nonsampling error including bias and variance from response, nonreporting, and undercoverage. Estimated relative standard errors of the most recent data are shown in the tables. Whenever a statement such as “2.5 percent (±3.2 percent) above” appears in the text, this indicates the range (-0.7 to +5.7 percent) in which the actual percentage change is likely to have occurred. All ranges given for percentage changes are 90 percent confidence intervals and account only for sampling variability. If a range does not contain zero, the change is statistically significant. If it does contain zero, the change is not statistically significant; that is, it is uncertain whether there was an increase or decrease. The same policies apply to the confidence intervals for percentage changes shown in the tables. On average, the preliminary seasonally adjusted estimates of total building permits, housing starts and housing completions are revised 2 percent or less. Explanations of confidence intervals and sampling variability can be found at the Census Bureau’s website.