August housing starts hold at 891,000 rate

Housing starts data released Wednesday morning shows a lull in housing construction, as the pace of residential construction showed a less-than-1% gain in August. 

The official seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of housing starts in August was 891,000, up 0.9% above the downwardly revised July estimate of 883,000. Total housing starts are up 19.0% compared to the August 2012 rate.

Analysts had expected total starts to comfortably exceed the 900,000 mark.

Single-family starts, the bread-and-butter metric for a majority of LBM dealers, fared better -- increasing 7.0% to a SAAR of 628,000. Compared to a year ago, single-family starts increased 16.9%.

The data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development shows growth of single-family construction strongest in the West, which recorded a17.5% month-to-month increase.

Building permits were also mixed. Authorizations were at a SAAR of 918,000, down 3.8% from the July rate -- but up 11.0% from the August 2012 rate.