Office of Public Affairs
April 18, 2017
Raemeka Mayo or Stephen Cooper
Economic Indicators Division
NEW RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITY IN MARCH
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Census Bureau jointly announced the following new residential construction statistics for March 2017:
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,260,000. This is 3.6 percent (±2.8 percent) above the revised February rate of 1,216,000 and is 17.0 percent (±1.2 percent) above the March 2016 rate of 1,077,000. Single-family authorizations in March were at a rate of 823,000; this is 1.1 percent (±1.9 percent)* below the revised February figure of 832,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 401,000 in March.
Privately-owned housing starts in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,215,000. This is 6.8 percent (±12.5 percent)* below the revised February estimate of 1,303,000, but is 9.2 percent (±9.1 percent) above the March 2016 rate of 1,113,000. Single-family housing starts in March were at a rate of 821,000; this is 6.2 percent (±10.0 percent)* below the revised February figure of 875,000. The March rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 385,000.
Privately-owned housing completions in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,205,000. This is 3.2 percent (±13.5 percent)* above the revised February estimate of 1,168,000 and is 13.4 percent (±16.2 percent)* above the March 2016 rate of 1,063,000. Single-family housing completions in March were at a rate of 819,000; this is 7.9 percent (±12.9 percent)* above the revised February rate of 759,000. The March rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 374,000.
New Residential Construction data for April 2017 is scheduled for release on May 16, 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.