US Housing Starts Fall More than Expected

Housing starts in the US dropped 5.3 percent from a month earlier to an annualized rate of 1,201 thousand in September of 2018, following a 7.1 percent gain in August and compared with market expectations of a 4.5 percent fall. Starts in the South declined the most since October 2015 mainly due to Hurricane Florence, which hit North and South Carolina in September.

Single-family homebuilding, which accounts for the largest share of the housing market, went down 0.9 percent to a rate of 871 thousand units in September; and starts for the volatile multi-family housing segment decreased 12.9 percent to a rate of 324 thousand. Starts dropped in the South (-13.7 percent to 567 thousand) and the Midwest (-14.0 percent to 160 thousand). Meanwhile, gains were seen in the Northeast (29.0 percent to 120 thousand) and the West (6.6 percent to 354 thousand). Starts for August were revised to 1,268 thousand from 1,282 thousand.

Building permits dropped 0.6 percent from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,241 thousand, while markets were expecting a 2.1 percent rise to 1,278 thousand. Permits were at the lowest level since May 2017, as multi-family permits decreased 9.3 percent to 390 thousand while single-family authorizations rose 2.9 percent to 851 thousand. Across regions, permits fell in the Midwest (-18.9 percent to 154 thousand) and Northeast (-9.8 percent to 92 thousand) but went up in West (11.1 percent to 341 thousand) and South (0.6 percent to 654 thousand).

Year-on-year, housing starts increased 3.7 percent while building permits went down 1.0 percent.

US Housing Starts Fall More than Expected

US Census Bureau | Stefanie Moya |
10/17/2018 2:03:03 PM