Mediocre Housing Numbers: Single-Family Starts and Permits Down, Multi-Family Up

Today's construction report shows permits fell 0.6%, single-family starts fell 1.8%, but multi-family starts rose 1.6%.

Here are some more details from the Census Bureau's Residential Construction Report for October.

Building Permits

Privately‐owned housing units authorized by building permits in October were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,263,000. This is 0.6 percent below the revised September rate of 1,270,000 and is 6.0 percent below the October 2017 rate of 1,343,000. Single‐family authorizations in October were at a rate of 849,000; this is 0.6 percent below the revised September figure of 854,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 376,000 in October.

Housing Starts

Privately‐owned housing starts in October were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,228,000. This is 1.5 percent above the revised September estimate of 1,210,000, but is 2.9 percent below the October 2017 rate of 1,265,000. Single‐family housing starts in October were at a rate of 865,000; this is 1.8 percent below the revised September figure of 881,000. The October rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 343,000.

Housing Completions

Privately‐owned housing completions in October were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,111,000. This is 3.3 percent below the revised September estimate of 1,149,000 and is 6.5 percent below the October 2017 rate of 1,188,000. Single‐family housing completions in October were at a rate of 832,000; this is 1.2 percent below the revised September rate of 842,000. The October rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 269,000.

Single-Family Starts vs Permits

The above chart helps put things into proper perspective. Homes are still not affordable. That's a lingering consequence of the housing bust and the Fed re-blowing various bubbles.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (7)
No. 1-4
Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

Repeat after me. A house is an illiquid liability.

hmk
hmk

What is the difference between privately owned housing starts and single family housing starts?

Mike Mish Shedlock
Mike Mish Shedlock

Editor

privately owned counts just that - Not govt low-income housing projects etc. Single family is 1 unit. There were a lot of apartments started this month

Advancingtime
Advancingtime

My frustration with America's housing policy boiled over when I read a piece about how roughly 80% of new apartment construction was for the high-end luxury market. The government holds huge responsibility for a rising share of our housing problems in low-income situations because its policies avoid dealing with the growing number of tenants that are irresponsible.

Government housing cherry-picks the best of the low-income renters providing them with very low rents and nice apartments and dumps the rest on the private sector. The following piece argues the best way to address or level the playing field would be to move away from public housing and give those needing housing aid "rent only vouchers" that could be used with any landlord rather than putting these people into a quasi-government ran project.