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Housing Starts See Monthly Surge

Strongest Pace in over a Decade

The strong numbers in housing starts in August benefitted greatly from an excellent showing in the multifamily segment. The single-family segment also faired well. "Higher sales and builder optimism point to further improvement," according to the Wells Fargo Economics Group.

With a 12.3% gain, housing starts in August experienced the best pace since June 2007. Multifamily starts were the true superstar of the stellar report with 32.8% climb. Single-family starts rose 4.4%, registering the best month since last January. In fact, only three other times during the housing recovery have better monthly, single-family numbers been posted.

Regionally, single-family starts were up 8.7% in the Midwest, 5.3% in the West and 3.6% in the South. The Midwest however took a slight step backward by slipping 1.7%. And for the year-to-date, the single-family tally is still off 2.7% from last year.

Single-family permits performed well with a 4.5% increase, which is the best since July 2018 and the fourth consecutive monthly gain after seven consecutive losses.

As far as the superb multifamily totals in starts, the Wells Fargo Economics Group credits some of it on the low numbers the last two months, which set the stage for a comeback, but declares, "that new home construction is finally beginning to catch up to the higher pace seen in new home sales."

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November 16, 2019, 2:35 pm PDT

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