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Solid Hikes in Starts, Completions
Multifamily Building Leads the Way

Single- and multifamily starts combined were 6.5 percent higher, and housing completions increased by 7.5 percent, both from August to September, the latest residential construction data shows. The chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders also said single-family starts are up 11 percent since the beginning of 2015, and he expects that pace to continue through the rest of this year.

Multifamily projects pushed both housing starts and completions higher in September, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Association of Home Builders.

There were 1,206,00 privately-owned housing starts in September. This is 6.5 percent above the 1,132,000 starts in August, and 17.5 percent better than the 1,026,000 units of September 2014.

Single-family homes, at 740,000 units, were 0.3 percent higher than August, and a 12 percent increase on a year-to-year basis.

But the September rate for buildings with five units or more was 454,000 starts, which is 17 percent higher month-to-month, and 28.6 percent better year-to-year.

Regionally, the Northeast gained 23.4 percent and the West jumped 25.4 percent in housing starts from August to September. Year-to-year, the Northeast is up 25.7 percent, while the West has increased 27.5 percent.

In terms of single-family home starts alone, the West is up 18.2 percent month-to-month, and 19.0 percent compared to September 2014.

Slightly more than 1 million privately-owned housing units were completed in September. This is 7.5 percent above the August rate of 956,000 units, and 8.4 percent better than the 948,000 completions in September 2014. Single-family home completions were 1.8 percent below the August rate, but 2.6 percent higher year-to-year. And the completion rate for buildings with five units or more jumped 29 percent month-to-month, and is 20.4 percent better than September 2014.

Regionally, the Northeast gained 60.3 percent and the Midwest climbed 48.0 percent from August to September in housing completions. In year-to-year stats, the Northeast is up just 1.6 percent, but the Midwest has jumped 33.7 percent.

In single-family home completions alone, the Midwest increased 11.7 percent on a month-to-month basis, and is up 8.5 percent compared to a year earlier.

A total of 1,103,000 building permits were issued in September. This is 5.0 percent below the August rate of 1,161,000 permits, but 4.7 percent above the September 2014 level of 1,053,000.

Permits for single-family homes were 0.3 percent lower than August, but 6.7 percent higher compared to September 2014.

And permits for buildings with five units or more were 14.6 percent lower than August, and also down 1.3 percent year-to-year.

The Northeast is up 8.3 percent in permits issued from August to September, while the Midwest, South and West all posted negative month-to-month numbers. On a year-to-year basis, however, the West's single-family home production was up 19.1 percent and its total output increased 15.7 percent.

"Although our builders are gaining confidence in the housing market, they remain cautious about adding too much inventory, " Tom Woods, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, said.

"Despite the modest month-over-month differentials in single-family production, this sector has shown gradual improvement throughout 2015, " David Crowe, chief economist for the NAHB, said. "Since January, single-family starts are up 11 percent, and we anticipate a similar pace for the rest of this year. "

Combined single- and multifamily starts rose in three of the four regions in September, compared to August. The Northeast, South and West posted respective gains of 23.4 percent, 0.6 percent and 25.4 percent, the NAHB said. The Midwest lost 12.2 percent.

Census Bureau


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February 28, 2020, 1:40 am PDT

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