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Housing and Construction Data from the Census Bureau
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  1. Housing and Construction Data from the Census Bureau McCormick SRI: Going Deep with Census Demographic and Economic Data Dr. Arthur R Cresce Assistant Division Chief for Housing Characteristics U.S. Census Bureau 0:00

  2. Goals of Presentation • Key sources of housing data we produce • Kinds of data these sources produce • Strengths and limitations of these sources • Some ideas for stories • How to access these data 0:46

  3. Key Points to Keep in Mind Using Census Data Tradeoffs among: • Geographic detail • Characteristic detail • Frequency of data collection 1:58

  4. Key Sources of Housing Data • American Housing Survey • 2010 Census and the American Community Survey • “Other” sources of data on housing characteristics • Construction Statistics Program 2:18

  5. About the American Housing Survey (AHS) 2:50

  6. Inception of the AHS • A 1968 Presidential Commission on Housing found that there was not enough information on the dynamics and condition of the housing stock, especially between censuses • In 1971 Congress authorized the AHS - 1973 - first National AHS - 1974 - first Metro AHS • Sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) 2:53

  7. AHS Today • National survey currently conducted every two years • Largest regular national housing survey in the United States - National sample - about 50,000 households with new construction added each survey year • Selected metropolitan areas surveyed every 4 to 6 years - almost 50 metro in sample at some time over last 30 years 4:00

  8. 5:20

  9. Neighborhood quality, Neighborhood problems, Crime, Litter, Pollution, Internal and External Building Condition Household education, income and race/ethnicity Just some subject areas Mortgage financing, Rent controls & Rent subsidies Utilities and energy usage Inventory composition, Units in structure, Square footage Residential alterations and home repairs The homes people left, and why they moved here 6:25

  10. Another Unique Feature of the AHS • The AHS has had the same panel in sample since 1985. • This allows researchers to track the same housing unit over an almost 30 year span. 10:27

  11. 11:10

  12. 11:16

  13. 11:42

  14. 12:26

  15. Housing Characteristics in the American Community Survey (ACS) • Type of unit • Tenure (own or rent) • Age of structure • Number of rooms • Housing Value • Taxes & Insurance • Utilities • Mortgage/Monthly Rent • Etc.

  16. Housing Characteristics in Census 2010 • Occupancy Status • Vacancy Status • Housing tenure (rented, owned) 14:27

  17. Strengths and Limitations: 2010-ACS-AHS 14:51

  18. “Other” Sources of Housing Data • Housing Vacancy Survey (Current Population Survey) • Survey of Market Absorption (SOMA) • New York City Housing and Vacancy Survey • Rental Housing Finance Survey • Survey of Income and Program Participation • Population Division Estimates Program 17:20

  19. Ideas for News StoriesAbout Housing Data • Availability and affordability of housing • Quality of housing and neighborhoods • Characteristics of the home and how it may be changing over time • Amenities in the home and in the community • Types of mortgages used to finance homes 20:17

  20. 2008 ACS – Single Year Data – National Level 20:40

  21. 2009 ACS – Single Year Data – National Level 21:25

  22. The Census Bureau’s Manufacturing and Construction Division Produces a Variety of Statistics on Residential Construction • Residential building permits • Housing starts and completions • New home sales • Characteristics of new housing • Construction spending • Manufactured home placements 22:02

  23. 22:29

  24. Two Surveys are Used to Measure New Residential Construction and Sales • Building Permits Survey (BPS) • Voluntary monthly and annual mail surveys of the 20,000 local • permit-issuing jurisdictions in the U.S. (Internet reporting available this summer) • Tracks the number of new privately-owned structures authorized • by building or zoning permits • Survey of Construction (SOC) • Voluntary monthly telephone/personal interview survey of • builders/owners of selected buildings (about 1 in 50 new units are sampled) • Provides data on housing starts, housing completions, new home sales, • prices, and characteristics of new housing units 22:55

  25. New Residential Construction • Monthly Principal Economic Indicator Release • Data for All Units and Single-family Units • Usually released on the 12th working day of the month • at 8:30am ET • Available at www.census.gov/starts • Monthly seasonally adjusted data on Permits, • Starts, Completions, and Units under Construction • Annual revisions with April release each May • Historic data available 24:00

  26. New Residential Construction -Strengths (Building Permits) • Are a component of the Conference Board’s U.S. Leading Economic Index, and are a leading construction indicator • Are public records and provide timely local data: • Data are released on the 18th workday of the following month for States, Metro Areas, counties, and local jurisdictions • Have a large monthly sample, and annual data for all 20,000 jurisdictions are released each year on May 1st 24:35

  27. New Residential Construction -Strengths (Survey of Construction) • Includes areas where permits are not required • Response rates are high because field enumerators collect data by observation • Provides detailed annual data on characteristics of new housing – released each year on June 1st 25:01

  28. New Residential Construction –Limitations • Data other than permits are available only for the 4 Census Regions • Confidence intervals for data other than permits are very large due to the small SOC sample size • Estimates for multifamily units often show large month-to-month fluctuations because all units in the building are counted together: • as authorized when the permit is issued • as started when excavation begins for the foundation • as completed when half are ready for occupancy • Single-family houses are considered completed when the finished flooring has been installed 25:45

  29. New Residential Sales • Monthly Principal Economic Indicator Release • Commonly called “New Home Sales” • Usually released on the 17th working day of the month at 10:00am ET • Available at www.census.gov/newhomesales • Monthly seasonally adjusted data on New Houses Sold and For Sale • Median and Average Sales Prices of New Houses Sold • Annual revisions with April release each May • Data available back to 1963 27:07

  30. New Residential Sales -Strengths • Only source of national data on sales of new homes • Based on contract signings, not closings, to provide a leading indicator • Data on sales of existing homes, from the National Association of Realtors (www.realtor.org) are not directly comparable because they measure closings • Response rates are high because field enumerators collect data by observation if the respondent does not participate • Price indexes of new houses sold and under construction measure inflation in home prices 27:42

  31. New Residential Sales –Limitations • Data available only for the 4 Census Regions • Confidence intervals are very large due to the small SOC sample size • Includes only homes where the house and land are sold as a package • Includes only single-family homes and townhouses, not condominium units • Does not capture sales cancellations • Larger revisions due to high initial imputation for houses where contracts are signed before thepermit is issued and sampled 28:46

  32. Many Sources are Used to Measure • Total Construction Spending • Construction Progress Reporting Surveys (CPRS) • Mail surveys of owners of sampled construction projects • Data collected on: • Privately-owned nonresidential construction projects • Privately-owned multifamily residential buildings • State and local construction projects (highways, schools, etc.) • Federal construction projects (military bases, public housing, etc.) • Examples of Other Sources of Data: • Data for new single-family housing are derived from the SOC • Data on residential remodeling are collected in the • Census Bureau’s Consumer Expenditures Survey • Data on railroad construction are provided by the Surface Transportation Board • Data on cable television construction are from industry trade association • statistics 29:35

  33. Construction Spending • Monthly Principal Economic Indicator Release • Commonly called “Value of Construction Put in Place (VIP)” • Usually released on the 1st working day of the month • at 10:00am ET • Available at www.census.gov/constructionspending • Data available by type of construction • Monthly seasonally adjusted data available • Annual revisions with May release each July • Data available back to 1964 30:38

  34. Construction Spending-Strengths • Estimates the total amount of money spent on allconstruction in the United States • Feeds directly into the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) • Total dollar value of all construction work: • Residential and nonresidential • Buildings and non-building projects • Privately-financed construction • Publicly-financed construction (Federal, state and local) • New construction • Improvements, additions, and alterations • Includes work in progress – not just completed projects 30:52

  35. Construction Spending–Limitations • Data available for the U.S. total only • Series for some types of construction have breaks when new classifications were introduced in 1993 • Monthly data on residential remodeling are forecast because the Consumer Expenditure Survey is quarterly, and are subject to larger revisions than other series • Remodeling data include only owner-occupied properties and exclude remodeling funded by insurance claims 31:30

  36. Manufactured Home Placements • The Manufactured Housing Survey (MHS) collects data on new manufactured (mobile) homes, which are not included in the other construction data series: • Measures the number of manufactured homes placed on sites for residential use and in dealers’ inventories • Includes homes inspected at the factory by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD-code homes”) • A monthly voluntary phone survey of individual units shipped to dealers sampled from the factory inspection reports • Gathers data on prices and characteristics • Data available for the U.S. and the 4 Census Regions • Monthly data available seasonally adjusted • Available at www.census.gov/const/www/mhsindex.html 32:41

  37. Ideas for News StoriesAbout Construction Data • News stories tend to overstate the significance ofthe change in the latest monthly estimate, which is often not statistically significant • A better story would look at trends over several months • The press may overstate the impact of weather on the numbers; bad weather rarely affects an entire region • Use local building permit data to provide a local angle • The impact of government stimulus programs or budget cuts can be seen in data on public construction spending 33:17

  38. For More Details onCensus Bureau Housing and Construction Data: Census Bureau Public Information Office 301-763-3030 34:23