Housing Starts Seasonal Adjustment Statistical Nonsense


Housing starts were reportedly up 1.9% to 1,415,000 SAAR. Hooray?

New Residential Construction

The New Residential Construction Report shows housing starts rose 1.9%, permits 5.2%, and completions 15.3%.

September Stats

  • Starts: 1,415,000 SAAR. This is 8.8% above the revised August estimate of 1,388,000.
  • Permits: 1,553,000 SAAR. This is 5.2% above the revised August rate of 1,476,000.
  • Completions: 1,413,000 SAAR. This is 15.3% above the revised August estimate of 1,226,000.

August Stats as Initially Reported

  • Starts: 1,415,000 SAAR.
  • Permits: 1.470,000 SAAR

Actual Numbers

  • Starts: 125,000
  • Permits: 134,200
  • Completed: 121,000
  • The census bureau took 125,000 starts and translated those to 1,415,000 units SAAR.
  • The data is heavily revised such that a 0% gain vs the prior month is reported as a 1.9% gain.
  • In addition, Covid hugely distorted the seasonal adjustments by pushing normally strong Spring numbers into the Summer.

The result is statistical nonsense that fluctuates wildly as reflected in the lead chart.

For further discussion, please see Discounting Revisions Housing Starts Were Flat


Comments (10)
No. 1-4

13 days till election. Is America great again yet?


A 2x4x8 at Lowe’s is $6.57. Don’t see the housing market banging along for long. Add that to higher interest rates and you have the perfect storm.

I work with a guy that is building a house. His lumber cost have climbed 30k so far. Still have more lumber to purchase. I imagine many other cost will also climb.

Oxidado Blanco
Oxidado Blanco

That would certainly explain the huge moves in lumber futures....


this is a very informative post, thanks for sharing!


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