September Housing Starts Decline on Multifamily Weakness

December 2016

The September pace of total housing starts decreased 9 percent due a substantial decline in multifamily production. Single-family construction continues, as expected, along a positive trend.
    
According to estimates from the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, single-family starts increased 8.1 percent to a 783,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate in September. Year-to-date, single-family housing starts are running almost 10 percent higher than the year-to-date total for September 2015.
    
Single-family permit growth points to additional growth. On a year-to-date basis, single-family permits from January to September 2016 are more than 8 percent higher than the same time in 2015.
    
Multifamily starts posted a large decline in September after a few months of strength. Apartment construction starts declined 38 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 264,000. Multifamily permits on a year-to-date basis are about 11 percent lower than a year ago.
    
Regionally, single-family starts showed strength in the Northeast, increasing 20 percent on a monthly basis. Gains for single-family starts were also realized in the South (12 percent) and Midwest (6 percent). The West posted a slight drop of 2 percent.