US new home construction reports postponed again

26 November 2013 14:31  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The Commerce Department on Tuesday postponed its residential construction report for the second time, saying that because of the federal government shutdown in early October it could not gather accurate data in time.

Known as the housing starts report, the department’s data on new home construction during September was to have been issued in late October. 

But that issue date was postponed to 26 November, today, when housing starts data for both September and October were to be issued.

Early on Thursday, however, the department announced that it was again postponing the residential construction data for September and October to 18 December when those two reports will be issued with the regularly scheduled November housing starts statistics.

“The lapse in federal funding affected the data collection schedule for … data on new housing units started and completed,” the department said.

“Accurate data collection for September and October 2013 could not be completed in time for the 26 November release,” the department said, adding: “Data on housing units started and completed in September, October, and November 2013 will be released on 18 December 2013.”

Although data on housing starts for September and October were not available, the department did have information on the number of residential building permits issued in October.

The down-sized housing report said that building permits issued in October were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.034m, a gain of 6.2% above the September rate of 974,000.

That pace of permitting also marked a nearly 14% improvement over October 2012, the department said.

However, the 6.2% improvement in construction permits in October was driven almost wholly by a 16.9% jump in authorisations for multi-unit apartment projects.

In the core housing construction market - work on new single-family homes - the number of permits issued in October rose by only 0.8%.

Building permits are issued by local governments when contractors are ready to break ground and begin construction of a residential structure, so monthly permitting data is seen as an indicator of the housing sector’s near-term prospects.

While market-watchers await the three-month home construction data to be issued in mid-December, other data reports suggest that the nation’s housing sector recovery may be in trouble.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said on Monday that pending home sales in October were down, marking the fifth straight month of declines.

The housing market is a key downstream consumer sector for the chemicals industry, driving demand for a wide variety of chemicals, resins and derivative products such as plastic pipe, insulation, paints and coatings, adhesives and synthetic fibres, among many others.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) estimates that each new home built represents some $15,000 (€11,100) worth of chemicals and derivatives used in the structure or in production of component materials.

($1 = €0.74)

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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