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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

Barbara Ruszel Economist
Tel: 902-424-1848Email:

September 19, 2017

US residential construction permits, a leading indicator of new construction, increased by 5.7 per cent in August 2017 compared to the revised July 2017 estimate, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,300,000. This is 8.3 per cent above the August 2016 estimate of 1,200,000. Compared to a year ago, permits for single unit structures were up 7.7 per cent, 2-4 units structures were unchanged, and 5+ units structures were down 10.2 per cent. 

Through the first eight months of the year, unadjusted building permits were up 7.5 per cent in 2017 compared to the first eight months of 2016, with increased starts in single unit, two-to-four unit and five or more unit structures.

US housing starts in August 2017 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,180,000 units. This is 0.8 per cent below the revised July 2017 estimate of 1,190,000 and 1.4 per cent above the August 2016 estimate of 1,164,000.

Through the first eight months of the year, unadjusted housing starts were up 2.7 per cent in 2017 over 2016, with growth in structures with one unit and a decline in both structures with two-to-four units and five or more units.

US housing starts are an important indicator for Nova Scotia's wood exports. Though not a perfect predictor, US housing starts and the value of Nova Scotia's wood exports follow similar directions over the long-term.

Source: US Census Bureau New Residential Construction

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