Housing Permits Up 6.7% From One Year Ago

The annual rate of growth was the fastest since May 2016, but it looks to decelerate in upcoming months.

(Neutral) There were 90,500 housing permits filed in February 2018. This was the fourth month in a row with fewer than 100,000 permits and the lowest level of permits since February 2017. Compared with one year ago, housing permits increased 6.7 percent. The month-over-month rate of change grew 132th time in 14 months. The annual rate of growth accelerated slightly to 7.0 percent, which was the fastest rate of growth since May 2016.  However, the annual rate of growth does appear poised to decelerate in upcoming months.

The 10-year Treasury rate is an excellent leading indicator for housing permits. The year-over-year change in the real rate, -11 basis points, increased to its highest level since May 2016. The year-over-year change was last positive in April 2016. An increasing year-over-year change in the real 10-year Treasury rate is negative for housing permits as homes become relatively more expensive.

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