Housing Starts Tumble in September

New Residential Construction: Housing Starts, Building Permits Strong in September

"At first glance, September's construction data showed a slip in total housing permits authorized and an increase in total housing units started, but digging deeper shows a more positive picture for potential homebuyers", says Danielle Hale, chief economist for realtor.com®.

The U.S. Census Bureau New Residential Construction report showed housing starts and building permits fundamentally strong in September.

The Commerce Department said single-family housing starts in September were down 4.6% to 829,000 from August's revised figure of 869,000.

Building permits fell 4.5% to 1.215 million unit rate instead an expected 3% drop to 1.238. All other regions posted gains in the single-family sector, and nationwide single-family permits increased 2.4%.

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Housing starts in August had a slight dip and came in at a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.18 million. Permits for multifamily units were at a rate of about 360,000, a decrease of 17.4% compared with about 436,000 in August.

Multifamily starts declined by 5.1% over the month of September to 298,000 units, with steep declines in the Midwest and Northeast. This is 4.7% (±8.1%)* below the revised August estimate of 1,183,000, but is 6.1% (±8.8%)* above the September 2016 rate of 1,062,000. Single-family completions increased 4.6 percent from August to 781,000. The pace is slowing across three of the four regions of the country, with only the West building starting more multifamily construction than in 2016. At 4.5 percent, this represents a 1.6 percent decrease from the previous month's rate of 1,272,000 and is 4.3 percent below the September's 2016 rate of 1,270,000.

Privately-owned housing starts in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,127,000. "Nationwide single-family permits are up this month, and year-to-date single-family starts are 9.1 percent ahead of their level over the same period last year - two indicators that this sector continues to improve", he said in a statement. The drop in permit data was driven by a decline in multi-family permits, while single-family permits-which more directly affect the inventory of homes for sale-were up from a year ago.

Confidence levels suggest a rebound in the new home market.

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