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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

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

December 18, 2018

US residential construction permits, a leading indicator of new construction, increased 5.0 per cent in November compared to the revised October estimate, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,328,000.  This is 0.4 per cent below the November 2017 estimate of 1,323,000.  Year over year, permits for single unit structures decreased by 1.9 per cent in November, while permits for structures with 2 to 4 units declined by 4.9 per cent. Permits for structures with 5 or more units increased 5.5 over November 2017.

On a year-to-date basis, permits are up 2.4 per cent in the first eleven months of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017.  Permits for single unit structures were up 4.5 per cent from January to November, while permits for 2 to 4 unit structures were up 2.7 per cent and permits for structures with 5 or more units were down 1.8 per cent.

US housing starts were up 3.2 per cent in November 2018 compared to the revised October estimate, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,256,000 units.  This month's estimate is 3.6 per cent below the November 2017 estimate of 1,303,000.  Year-to-date, housing starts are up 4.7 per cent over the same period in 2017.

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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