US Housing Market July & Softwood Lumber Prices Aug: 2022

The latest US housing starts and US new home sales data, for July 2022, continued the downward trend seen in recent months, when mortgage and interest rate increases hit the housing market. While it is true that a slow-down is apparent in both construction and home buying activity, it is important to note that month-over-month starts and permits have indeed dropped, however new building and permits activity for the first seven months of this year were up compared to January to July 2021.

Total housing starts in the US for July 2022 fell -9.6% to 1.446 million compared to June, and were down -8.1% from the July 2021 rate of 1.573 million. Data for June was revised higher to a rate of 1.599 million units from the previously reported 1.591 million units. However, total starts year-to-date are up almost +4% compared to the first seven months of 2021.

Meanwhile, building permits were again almost flat, down only -1.3% to 1.674 million from the revised June rate of 1.696 million. This is +1.1% above the July 2021 rate of 1.655 million. During the first seven months of this year there was a +3.2% increase in building permits from the same period in 2021.

The backlog of houses approved for construction that are yet to be started continued to break all-time record levels.

Indeed, the number of houses approved for construction that are yet to be started increased yet again, to 296,000 units.

The single-family housing backlog also rose, to 146,000 units.

Combined, there was a very high 1.678 million units under construction, 816,000 of those single-family homes. This is well above the historical record-high of 1.628 million units that were under construction in 1973. These will eventually become starts and help to underpin residential construction.


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