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Housing starts increased by 4.9 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.53 million units, according to the latest report from the Commerce Department. Single-family starts increased 6.4 percent to a 1.18 million seasonally adjusted annual rate and are up 8.6 percent year-to-date. This growth pace has been the best since spring of 2007. In the multifamily sector, housing starts remained unchanged from the previous month at a 351,000 pace.

The Breakdown:

Housing Starts: 1.53 million (+4.9% month-over-month, +14.2% year-over-year)
Multifamily Starts: 334,000
Single-Family Starts: 1,179,000

Building Permits: 1.54 million (+1.3% month-over-month, +2.8% year-over-year)
Multifamily Permits: 365,000
Single-Family Permits: 1,120,000

Completions: 1.34 million (-4.5% month-over-month, +5.4% year-over-year)
Multifamily Completions: 444,000
Single-Family Completions: 883,000

Regional Year-to-Date Data

Midwest: +15.5 percent
South: +7.5 percent
West: +4.7 percent
Northeast: -6.4 percent

What the Industry Is Saying:

“As seen in the NAHB/Wells Fargo builder confidence index, single-family starts continue to grow off a historic rebound that began in April. Current demand is being supported by historically low interest rates and homebuyer preferences shifting to the suburbs and exurbs.” — Chuck Fowke, Chairman, National Association of Home Builders

“Single-family permits were approximately flat in October, which suggests housing starts will level off in the months ahead, although at post-Great Recession highs. Builders cite a lack of lots and decreased availability of building materials as headwinds that will limit production.” — Robert Dietz, Chief Economist, National Association of Home Builders

“The building of new homes continued its hot streak in October due to sky high demand across the country. While there is a usual lull during the winter months, we are hopeful this high rate of construction continues to ensure there is ample supply on the market in the spring.” — Bill Banfield, Executive Vice President of Capital Markets, Rocket Mortgage

“Housing starts increased for the second straight month to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.53 million starts—the highest since this February. Most notably for the housing market’s continued supply shortages, the pace was driven by 1.179 million single-family starts. Single-family construction has now increased for six consecutive months and is at the highest level since 2007. The rise in construction is in line with other data on homebuilder confidence, and should help to alleviate the supply and demand imbalances seen in most parts of the country. MBA’s recently published November forecast includes a strong pace of single-family starts next year, which should provide sufficient inventory to support a faster pace of home sales, albeit still with solid home-price growth. Combined, these trends will lead to a record year of purchase originations in 2021.” — Joel Kan, AVP of Economic and Industry Forecasting, Mortgage Bankers Association

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