Total housing starts increased 3.8 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.31 million units, according to a report from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development and Commerce Department.
The October reading of 1.31 million starts is the number of housing units builders would begin if they kept this pace for the next 12 months. Within this overall number, single-family starts increased 2.0 percent to 936,000 units. The multifamily sector, which includes apartment buildings and condos, increased 8.6 percent to a 378,000 pace.
“Home builders are seeing more building opportunities as market conditions remain solid,” said Greg Ugalde, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Torrington, Conn. “Builder sentiment remains strong, and we are seeing an uptick in buyer traffic.”
“Led by lower mortgage rates, the pace of single-family permits has been increasing since April, and the rate of single-family starts has grown since May,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Solid wage growth, healthy employment gains and an increase in household formations are also contributing to the steady rise in home production.”
On a regional and year-to-date basis, combined single-family and multifamily starts in October are 6.8 percent higher in the South. Starts are down 0.5 percent in the Northeast, 7.4 percent in the Midwest and 10.3 percent in the West.
Overall permits, which are a harbinger of future housing production, increased 5.0 percent to a 1.46 million unit annualized rate in October. Single-family permits rose 3.2 percent to a 909,000 rate while multifamily permits increased 8.2 percent to a 552,000 pace.
Looking at regional permit data on a year-to-date basis, permits are 9.2 percent higher in the Northeast and 5.2 percent higher in the South. Permits are down 5.0 percent in the Midwest and 1.4 percent in the West.