Total Housing Starts Down on Multifamily, Single-Family Edges Up


According to estimates from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development and Commerce Department, single-family starts edged up in September, consistent with recent gains for the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). However, the headline measure of total housing starts was down 9.4% for the month due to a large decline in the volatile multifamily sector.

Single-family starts increased 0.3% to a 918,000 seasonally adjusted annual pace in September. Multifamily starts declined 28.2% to a 338,000 annualized rate after a strong reading of 471,000 in August.

On a year-to-date basis, single-family starts are 1.8% lower than the first nine months of 2018. NAHB’s forecast, and the forward-looking HMI suggest that future data will show slight monthly gains due to recent declines in mortgage interest rates. Indeed, single-family permits have been increasing since April, and single-family starts have been rising since May as the home construction rebound continues. We expect additional single-family growth, as areas beyond the exurbs respond to for-sale housing demand and ongoing healthy labor markets.

On a regional and year-to-date basis, single-family starts are down 9.1% in the Northeast, 8.6% in the West, 5.4% in the Midwest and up 3.4% in the South – the only region with net gains.

As of September 2019, there were 524,000 single-family homes under construction. September saw the first gain for this number since January, and it is roughly flat from a year ago. There are currently 633,000 apartments under construction, a post-Great Recession high.  The cumulative impact of the rebound in home construction is seen in the graph below.


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3 replies

  1. The stats are really critical.. Thanks for the detailed analysis and sharing, Robert!

  2. Thanks Robert for informative report. the market for single-family house still be a good trend.

  3. Robert, you have done good work but are these single-family house stats still valid? Anyways, thank you for sharing your experience.

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