September U.S. Housing Starts Fall 9.4% from August

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U.S. housing starts in September dropped 9.4% compared with the previous month, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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According to the joint report, housing starts in September reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.26 million, down from August’s 1.39 million. The September rate, however, was up 1.6% on a year-over-year basis.

Single‐family housing starts in September were at a rate of 918,000, marking a 0.3% increase from the previous month. Meanwhile, for units in buildings with five units or more, the September rate reached 327,000.

As for building permits, housing units authorized in September reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.39 million, down 2.9% from August but up 7.7% on a year-over-year basis. Single‐family authorizations in September checked in at at a rate of 882,000, marking a 0.8% increase from August, while authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more came in at a rate of 470,000.

Privately owned housing completions checked in at a rate of 1.14 million in September, which marked a 9.7% decrease from August and a 1.0% decrease from September 2018.

Single‐family housing completions were down 8.6% in September compared with the previous month, while completions for units in building in five units or more reached a rate of 285,000.

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Late last month, the National Association of Realtors reported pending home sales increased 1.6% in August.

“It is very encouraging that buyers are responding to exceptionally low interest rates,” said Lawrence Yun, the association’s chief economist. “The notable sales slump in the West region over recent years appears to be over. Rising demand will reaccelerate home price appreciation in the absence of more supply.”

The NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index jumped to 107.3 in August, with an index reading of 100 indicating average contract activity.

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