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After increasing the month prior, home-building in September took a tumble, according to the Commerce Department.

Housing Starts (Total): 1.26 million; -9.4% month-over-month; +1.6 percent year-over-year
Multifamily Starts: 327,000
Single-Family Starts: 918,000

Building Permits (Total): 1.39 million; -2.7% month-over-month; +7.7% year-over-year
Multifamily Permits: 470,000
Single-Family Permits: 882,000

Completions (Total): 1.14 million; -9.7% month-over-month; -1% year-over-year
Multifamily Completions: 285,000
Single-Family Completions: 852,000

What the Industry’s Saying

“Multifamily housing starts fell from an unsustainably high level in August and are running at a solid pace despite the sharp monthly decline. Meanwhile, the rebound for single-family construction continues. Single-family permits have increased since April, and single-family starts have posted gains since May. In another positive development, September marked the first monthly increase for the number of single-family homes currently under construction since January.” – Robert Dietz, Chief Economist, National Association of Home Builders

“The housing industry is plagued by a shortage of inventory. To a degree, it is moving in the right direction: Single-family housing starts rose a notch in September and are higher by 4 percent from a year ago. But multifamily housing starts, which have been predominately apartments and not condominiums, sharply declined by 28 percent in September and are down 6 percent from a year ago. With new condo rules on FHA mortgages, developers should anticipate rising demand for multifamily units. Building more homes is needed to help address housing affordability for both renters and homebuyers. Furthermore, more home-building will help boost economic growth. It is very likely that the GDP growth rate in the second half of this year will be light at under 2 percent. To get it moving higher, housing starts need to significantly ramp up.” – Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist, National Association of REALTORS®

“On the heels of an exceptionally and unexpectedly strong August, these steep September retreats in housing starts and permits are a reminder that builders still face considerable headwinds. The constraints of scarce land, expensive labor and economic uncertainty have prevented the market from clocking steadier growth, even with assists from low mortgage rates and steady builder confidence. Still, there are encouraging signs, particularly when you consider that autumn is typically when home-building begins to slow. Yes, September’s starts and permits were down from August’s figures— both of which were revised upward—but they were up significantly from a year ago.” – Matthew Speakman, Economist, Zillow

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