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US single-family construction continues to make steady gains in October


November 19, 2019
By National Association of Home Builders

Total U.S. housing starts increased 3.8 per cent in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.31 million units, according to a report from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development and Commerce Department.

The October reading of 1.31 million starts is the number of housing units builders would begin if they kept this pace for the next 12 months. Within this overall number, single-family starts increased 2.0 per cent to 936,000 units. The multifamily sector, which includes apartment buildings and condos, increased 8.6 percent to a 378,000 pace.

“Home builders are seeing more building opportunities as market conditions remain solid,” said Greg Ugalde, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Torrington, Conn. “Builder sentiment remains strong, and we are seeing an uptick in buyer traffic.”

“Led by lower mortgage rates, the pace of single-family permits has been increasing since April, and the rate of single-family starts has grown since May,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Solid wage growth, healthy employment gains and an increase in household formations are also contributing to the steady rise in home production.”

On a regional and year-to-date basis, combined single-family and multifamily starts in October are 6.8 per cent higher in the South. Starts are down 0.5 per cent in the Northeast, 7.4 per cent in the Midwest and 10.3 per cent in the West.

Overall permits, which are a harbinger of future housing production, increased 5.0 per cent to a 1.46 million unit annualized rate in October. Single-family permits rose 3.2 per cent to a 909,000 rate while multifamily permits increased 8.2 per cent to a 552,000 pace.

Looking at regional permit data on a year-to-date basis, permits are 9.2 per cent higher in the Northeast and 5.2 per cent higher in the South. Permits are down 5.0 per cent in the Midwest and 1.4 per cent in the West.