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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

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

January 18, 2018

US residential construction permits, a leading indicator of new construction, decreased by 0.1 per cent in December  2017 compared to the revised November 2017 estimate, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,302,000. This is 2.8 per cent above the December 2016 estimate of 1,266,000. Compared to last month, permits for single unit structures were up 1.8 per cent, 2-4 units structures were flat, and 5+ units structures decreased 4.3 per cent. 

US housing starts in December 2017 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,192,000 units. This is 8.2 per cent below the revised November 2017 estimate of 1,299,000 and is 6.0 per cent below the December 2016 estimate of 1,268,000.

ANNUAL (Seasonally Unadjusted)

In 2017, permits were 4.7 per cent higher than 2016, at a level of 1,263,400. Single unit structures were up 8.9 per cent on an annual basis, while two to four unit structures were up 1.8 per cent in 2017. Structures with 5 units or more were down 2.6 per cent in 2017. 

Housing starts in 2017 were at a level of 1,201,100, 2.4 per cent higher than 2016, influenced mainly by single unit structures, which were up 8.5 per cent annually (at a level of 848,300). Structures with 2-4 units were down 1.0 per cent at a level of 11,400, and structures with 5 units or more were down 10.12 per cent, at a level of 342,400. 

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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