Housing starts consistent despite multifamily fall

by Steve Randall20 Sep 2017

There was a decline in nationwide housing starts in August, slipping 0.8% to seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.18 million units.

While the numbers from the HUD and the Commerce Department were lower overall, single family production was up 1.6% to a SAAR of 851,000 after a downwardly revised July reading. Multifamily starts dropped 6.5% to 329,000 units from upwardly revised July reading.

“This month’s report shows that single-family starts continue to move forward at a gradual, consistent pace,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “The three-month average for single-family production has reached a post-recession high, but the months ahead may show volatility given that the building markets affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma represent about 14% of national production.”

There was a sharp rise in housing production in the Midwest with combined single and multifamily starts jumping 22%; the West saw a 4% rise, while the South was down 7.9% and the Northeast was down 8.7%.

Housing permits issued in August were up 5.7% to a SAAR of 1.30 million units, driven by a near-20% jump for the multifamily sector.

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