Production of new single-family homes slowed in August, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. While overall housing starts rose 1.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 598,000 units for the month, single-family starts declined 3% to a rate of 479,000 units, ending what had been a five-month run of improvements.
A 3% decline in single-family housing starts for August essentially erased the previous month’s gain, bringing production back to a 479,000-unit annual rate. Single-family permits also edged downward in August, by two-tenths of a percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 462,000 units, ending what had been a four-month run of gains. Meanwhile, multifamily housing starts, which tend to display greater volatility on a month-to-month basis, rose 25.3% from an extremely low level in the previous month, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 119,000. Multifamily permit issuance rose 16 percent from an all-time low in July, to a 117,000-unit rate.
Regionally speaking, combined single- and multifamily housing starts were mixed, with gains of 23.8% and 9% reported in the Northeast and Midwest, respectively, a 2.4% decline registered in the South, and no change reported in the West. Combined permits were also mixed, with gains of 14.3% and 7.2% recorded in the Northeast and South, respectively, and declines of 5.7% and 5.6% registered in the Midwest and West, respectively.
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