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New Residential Construction

The American Dream of home ownership is one of the primary drivers of the US economy. Housing activity affects the investment (I) component of the aggregate expenditure formula for calculating gross domestic product: C+I+G+(X-M). The construction of new, privately owned residential structures, particularly single-family homes, is very telling regarding consumer sentiment and the health of the economy.

While new housing only accounts for 3 percent of GDP it can have a profound effect on the economy due to the multiplier effect of related spending and other indirect contributions. Once a home is bought, it must be furnished and decorated. All of this activity means new jobs for construction workers, retail salespeople, and manufacturers; increased tax revenues for local and state municipalities; and greater spending on goods such as carpeting, furniture, and appliances.

There are several important housing indicators, including the Census Bureau’s new home sales and the National Association of Realtors’ existing home sales. The most influential, however, is new-housing starts and building permits. These numbers are contained in New Residential Construction, which is released jointly by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at 8:30am ET on approximately the fifteenth day of the month following the reference month. This release can be found on the Census Bureaus’ website .