U.S. housing starts declined 10.2% in September as builders focused on reducing their inventories in the midst of continuing mortgage market travails, according to the U.S. Commerce Department . The majority of the downward movement was centered in the multifamily sector, where a significant uptick in starts had been registered in the previous month.
Overall housing starts fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.19 million units, the slowest since March 1993's pace of 1.08 million units. Single-family production registered a 1.7% decline to a 963,000-unit rate, while multifamily production posted a 34.3% decline to a 228,000-unit rate.
Building permits, which can be an indicator of future building activity, also declined in September. Overall permit issuance fell 7.3% to a rate of 1.23 million units, with single-family permits down 7.1% to 868,000 units and multifamily permits down 7.7% to 358,000 units.