Each month the United States Census Bureau along with the United States Department of Housing and Urban development (HUD) release a report entitled the New Construction Report which includes not only housing starts but also housing permits and housing completions. Decennial (ten-year) census information is available from 1959 on. The monthly report includes data for new housing starts, which is considered a leading economic indicator. The report can be accessed on the U.S. Census Bureau’s website on the seventeenth of each month at 8:30 AM. The report includes data about housing starts from the previous month, and year-over-year periods. When accumulating data, surveys are completed by homebuilders throughout the country. Approximately 95% of residential construction statistics are represented. The final data can be examined by region: Northeast, Midwest, South, and West, and by single and multi-family units. To be included in the housing start data, work on the foundation of a residence must have started.
The Census Bureau estimates that it takes close to five months to see a trend in total housing starts. Investors use this data to seek out market trends when combining this information with other economic indicators and variations in interest rates set by the Federal Reserve.