Housing starts gained in July, even as permits stayed flat and completions dropped, according to the July 2016 residential construction report by the U.S. Census Bureau and HUD. Privately-owned housing starts in July were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 1 point 2 million. This is 2 point 1 percent above June’s estimated 1 point 18 million and 5 point 6 percent last July’s rate of 1 point 14 million. Single-family housing starts in July came in at a rate of 770 thousand, or zero point 5 percent above June’s rate of 766 thousand.
Realtor dot com chief economist Jonathan Smoke said, quote, Analysts had only been expecting a 1 percent decline in starts, but they were up 2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the revised rate in June. Like permits, the seasonally adjusted rate was the best since February, and the non-adjusted actual estimate for the month was the highest since October 2007. Close quote
Two presidents of Federal Reserve Banks, Dennis Lockhart of the Atlanta Fed and Bill Dudley of the New York Fed, addressed the next Fed rate hike in public speeches on Tuesday. Lockhart said he would not rule out a rate hike by the end of the year, and Dudley said that a September rate hike is likely adding, quote, We’re edging closer towards the point in time where it will be appropriate I think to raise interest rates further. Close quote. Mortgage rates have fallen by 40 basis points since the last Fed rate hike in December and are now hovering right above record lows.