Single-family starts, the largest segment of the market, fell 4.6 percent to 829 thousand, led by a decline of 15.3 percent in the South due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Also, the volatile multi-family segment slumped 5.1 percent to 298 thousand. Overall, housing starts fell in the South (-9.3 percent), the Midwest (-20.2 percent) and the Northeast (-9.2 percent), but rose in the West (15.7 percent).
Building permits also decreased sharply by 4.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1,215 thousand, way below market expectations of 1,245 thousand. Permits for the construction of multi-family homes dropped 16.1 percent while single-family home permits rose 2.4 percent. Permits rose in the Northeast (9.2 percent), and Midwest (0.5 percent), but fell in the West (-9.2 percent) and the South (-5.6 percent).
Year-on-year, starts rose 6.1 percent while permits fell 4.3 percent.