US Housing Starts: September 2013 Preview

Tomorrow’s report on US housing starts for September will likely be postponed due to the government shutdown. When (if?) this update is published, US housing starts are expected to total 891,000 (seasonally adjusted annual rate), according to The Capital Spectator’s average econometric forecast. The projection represents a modest decline vs. the previously reported 891,000 total for August. Meanwhile, in contrast with The Capital Spectator’s average prediction, several consensus forecasts drawn from surveys of economists anticipate a moderate rise in September housing starts vs. the previous month.

Here’s a closer look at the numbers, followed by brief definitions of the methodologies behind The Capital Spectator’s projections:
VAR-3: A vector autoregression model that analyzes three economic series to project housing starts: new home sales, newly issued permits for residential construction, and the monthly supply of homes for sale. VAR analyzes the interdependent relationships of these series with housing starts through history. The forecasts are run in R using the “vars” package.
ARIMA: An autoregressive integrated moving average model that analyzes the historical record of housing starts in R via the “forecast” package.
ES: An exponential smoothing model that analyzes the historical record of housing starts in R via the “forecast” package.
R-1: A linear regression model that analyzes the NAHB Housing Market Index in context with housing starts. The historical relationship between the data sets is applied to the more recently updated NAHB Housing Market Index to project housing starts. The computations are run in R.