At least compared with activity a year ago, U.S. housing looks to be in recession.
Starts of privately owned residences were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.665 million last month, 6% below July's revised figure of 1.772 million and 19.8% below the August 2005 rate of 2.075 million, the U.S. Commerce Department and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly reported on September 19. August's start-rate was significantly below the 1.75 million that economists generally had expected.
In August, single-family housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.36 million, 5.9% below July's rate of 1.445 million and 20.6% below the August 2005 rate of 1.713 million. The start rate for multi-family dwellings was 265,000, up 8.2% from July's 245,000 rate but 16.9% below the August 2005 rate of 319,000.