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Home-building activity slowed in August, with housing starts down 0.8 percent to a rate of 1,180,000, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Single-family housing starts increased, however,1.6 percent to 851,000. Starts for units in buildings with five units or more came in at 323,000.

Permits took off, up 5.7 percent from July to 1,300,000, according to the data. Single-family permits were down 1.5 percent to 800,000. Permits for units in buildings with five units or more came in at 464,000.

Completions totaled 1,075,000 in August, falling 10.2 percent. Single-family completions decreased 13.3 percent from July to 835,000. Completions for units in buildings with five units or more came in at 348,000.

“This month’s report shows that single-family starts continue to move forward at a gradual, consistent pace,” said Robert Dietz, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), in a statement. “The three-month average for single-family production has reached a post-recession high, but the months ahead may show volatility, given that the building markets affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma represent about 14 percent of national production.”

“[This] new construction data showed somewhat weak growth in overall housing starts and a slight decline from July,” says Danielle Hale, chief economist for realtor.com®. “However, single-family construction—which much more directly affects the availability of owner-occupied homes for sale—was much stronger, increasing by 17.1 percent from August 2016. Only the Midwest saw fewer single-family housing starts from one year ago, while all other regions saw double-digit increases. As new construction continues to increase, home shoppers will eventually see more options and have a bit more time to make purchasing decisions.”

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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