U.S. Housing Starts Muscle Ahead In July

By John S. McClenahen Economists generally expected July starts for privately owned housing in the U.S. to come in at an annual rate below 1.8 million. They were stronger, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.872 million, the U.S. Commerce Department and Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly reported on Aug. 18. July's housing-starts figure is 1.5% above the revised June rate of 1.845 million. Single-family housing starts last month were at an annual rate of 1.521 million, 1.9% higher than June's 1.492 million rate. The one bearish note in the report: Building permits in July for privately owned housing were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.78 million, 2.4% below June's rate of 1.823 million and the consensus forecast rate of 1.8 million for July.

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