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Housing starts dropped in November, according to new statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. These low numbers follow year-long highs and an extreme surge in October.

Privately-owned housing starts in November were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,090,000, a disappointing 18.7 percent drop from the revised October estimate of 1,340,000.

While at a glance it may seem that the market is back-peddling, it’s important to keep in mind that starts often slow this time of year. While a far cry from the highs of last month, these rates are only 6.9 percent below the November 2015 rate of 1,171,000.

“The seasonally adjusted rate of starts in November was down a whopping 19 percent from October, a much greater drop than anticipated,” says Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke. “But the 26 percent increase in October was really an aberration, and can be attributed to factors such as mild weather and the 33-percent rise in multifamily starts. However, November’s seasonally adjusted rate of permits was 1.201 million, keeping us above the 1.2 million mark for three straight months–a consistent level of permitting not seen since 2007.”

While starts may look bleak, privately owned housing completions rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,216,000, 15.4 percent above October’s numbers and 25 above the November 2015 rate of 973,000. Single-family housing completions rose slightly as well in November, 3.3 percent above the revised October rate of 749,000.

“Because of the lack of progress in new construction this year, housing stock has not kept pace with household growth,” says Smoke. “And that’s why low vacancies in rentals and very low inventories of homes for sale lead to higher rents and prices. Now that permitting once again exceeds the rate of starts, we can expect better growth ahead in starts and completions. Yesterday’s homebuilder confidence data pointed to a big post-election jump in builder confidence. Let’s hope that means new construction is finally growing again.”

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