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Sept 3 -- The U.S. Census Bureau plans to request a three-year extension of the current Office of Management and Budget (OMB) clearance of the Survey of Housing Starts, Sales and Completions, also known as the Survey of Construction (SOC).  It invites public comment on its plan by November 2, 2020. The current clearance for this survey is scheduled to expire on April 30, 2021.
 
The SOC collects monthly data on new residential construction from a sample of owners or builders. The Census Bureau uses the Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) electronic questionnaires SOC-QI/SF.1 and SOC-QI/MF.1 to collect data on start and completion dates of construction, physical characteristics of the structure (floor area, number of bathrooms, type of heating system, etc), and if applicable, date of sale, sales price, and type of financing. The SOC provides widely used measures of construction activity, including the economic indicators Housing Starts and Housing Completions, which are from the New Residential Construction series, and New Residential Sales.  

We sample about 1,800 new buildings each month (21,600 per year). We inquire about the progress of each building multiple times until it is completed (and a sales contract is signed, if it is a single-family house that is built for sale). For single-family buildings, we conduct an average of 8 interviews and for multifamily buildings, we conduct an average of 6 interviews. The total number of interviews conducted in 2019 for single-family buildings is about 109,900 and for multifamily buildings is about 48,300.    

Census indicates that "we . . . do not intend to make any significant changes to the survey in this request.  Therefore, all the current survey methodology and materials that are in production use now and available on our website will continue to be used at this time."
 
SOC webpage: https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/index.html
SOC forms: https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/get_forms/index.html
Methodology: https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/how_the_data_are_collected/soc.html
FR notice: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/09/03/2020-19477/agency-information-collection-activities-submission-to-the-office-of-management-and-budget-omb-for
 
Point of contact: Bill Abriatis, Branch Chief, Residential Construction Branch, Economic Indicators Division, U.S. Census Bureau  301-763-3686  William.M.Abriatis@census.gov

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