New construction weak in March

Single family housing permits declined a notable 3.5 percent from February to 462,000 single family units, but increased 17.6 percent above the level seen in March 2011.

This chart shows, in thousands, the number of single family housing permits issued annually over the past decade. Since plummeting after the 2005 peak, rates have been slow to recover.

Today’s New Residential Construction Report showed weak results in March with single family permits declining from February while starts also declined over the same period.

Single family housing permits, the most leading of indicators, declined a notable 3.5% from February to 462K single family units (SAAR), but increased 17.6% above the level seen in March 2011 but still remained  an astonishing 74.30% below the peak in September 2005.

Single family housing starts fell 0.2% from February to 462K units (SAAR), but climbed 10.53% above the level seen in March 2011 and remained a stunning 74.66% below the peak set in early 2006.

With the substantial headwinds of elevated unemployment, epic levels of foreclosure and delinquency, mounting bankruptcies, contracting consumer credit, and falling real wages, an overhang of inventory and still falling home prices, the environment for “organic” home sales remains weak and likely very fragile.

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