US Housing Starts Fall More than Expected in December

U.S. homebuilding fell more than expected in December, recording its biggest drop in just over a year, amid a steep decline in the construction of single-family housing units following two months of hefty gains.



Other data on Thursday showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits dropped to a 45-year low last week. The decline in claims for jobless benefits, however, probably exaggerated the health of the labor market as data for seven states, including California, were estimated.

Housing starts decreased 8.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.192 million units, the Commerce Department said. November’s sales pace was revised up to 1.299 million units from the previously reported 1.297 million units.

The percentage drop for housing starts in December was the largest since November 2016. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast housing starts decreasing to a pace of 1.275 million units last month.

U.S. financial markets were little moved by the data.

Homebuilding increased 2.4 percent to 1.202 million units in 2017, the highest level since 2007. December’s moderation in homebuilding is likely to be temporary amid strong demand for housing that is being driven by a robust labor market.

via Reuters

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Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He has been published by The MarketWatch, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Bloomberg and BNN. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza