Housing Starts

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Definition of 'Housing Starts'

The United States Census Bureau at the United States Department of Commerce and United States Department of Housing and Urban Development release the housing starts figures during the third week of the month. Figures released are for the previous month. Data for January are released in February. This released one day after the Housing Market Index is released.

At the peak of the housing bubble in January 2007 housing starts were around 1.5 million units. Two years later they were down to a third of that at around 500 thousand.

Housing starts are defined as residential building projects where the excavation of the foundations for the building has begun.

The figures posted for the housing starts will have an inverse effect on bond prices which will rise when housing starts fall and fall when housing starts rise.

Due to the number of industries that the house building sector touches, this indicator is closely watched as a leading indicator for sales in other sectors such as DIY and appliance stores. Index futures traders will also pay careful attention to this figure as it will impact the stock market as a whole.

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