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Housing Starts Edge Lower in August, Permits Up


Nationwide housing starts dropped 3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.126 million units in August, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Commerce Department. Overall permit issuance rose 3.5 percent to a rate of 1.170 million.

“Permit growth indicates that our members feel confident that consumers are returning to the market,” said NAHB Chairman Tom Woods, a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo. “However, builders are reporting concerns with lots and labor availability, which could have contributed to this month’s production dip.”

“A slight one-month decline is not unusual as the housing market moves forward at a slow and steady pace,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “However, encouraging permit data, year-over-year increases in single and multifamily production, and rising builder confidence all bode well for a continuing, gradual recovery throughout the rest of the year.”

Both housing sectors posted production declines this month. Single-family housing starts fell 3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 739,000 in August while multifamily starts dropped 3 percent to 387,000 units.

Combined single- and multifamily starts fell in three of the four regions in August. The Northeast, Midwest and West posted respective losses of 33.7 percent, 9.8 percent and 1.1 percent. The South registered a 7.1 percent gain.

Multifamily permits rose 4.7 percent to a rate of 471,000 while single-family permits increased 2.8 percent to 699,000.

Regionally, the Midwest, South and West posted respective permit gains of 2.9 percent, 2.4 percent and 9.6 percent. The Northeast fell 4.4 percent.