U.S. housing activity surges in October, starts jump 3.8%

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Despite the plunge in temperatures, housing activity around the country heated up in October.

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Housing starts rise in October

According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, privately owned housing starts in October reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.31 million, up 3.8% from the revised September estimate of 1.27 million.

The October number was also up 8.5% from the October 2018 total of 1.21 million.

Meanwhile, single-family starts for the month reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 936,000, marking a 2.0% increase from September. Starts for units in buildings with five units or more reached an adjusted annual rate of 362,000.

Permits up 5.0%

Meanwhile, privately owned housing units authorized by permits reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.46 million units, which marked a 5.0% increase from the September total and a 14.1% increase compared with October 2018.

Meanwhile, permits for single-family authorizations reached an adjusted annual rate of 909,000, up 3.2% from September. Permits for units in buildings with five units or more reached an adjusted annual rate of 505,000.

Housing completions rise 10.3%

Housing completions in October reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.26 million, which marked a 10.3% increase compared with September. The October total was also up 12.4% on a year-over-year basis.

Single-family housing completions reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 897,000, up 4.5% from September. Completions of units in buildings with five units or more reached an adjusted annual rate of 354,000.

Existing-home sales rise in October

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) earlier this month reported existing-home sales increased in October.

Existing-home sales increased 1.9% over September levels, the NAR reported.

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“Historically-low interest rates, continuing job expansion, higher weekly earnings and low mortgage rates are undoubtedly contributing to these higher numbers,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “We will likely continue to see sales climb as long as potential buyers are presented with an adequate supply of inventory.”

The median existing-home price in October reached $270,900, up 6.2% on a year-over-year basis. Meanwhile, housing inventory as of the end of October reached 1.77 million units, which marked a 2.7% decline from September and a 4.3% decline from October 2018.

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