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New-home construction cools in September

by John Yellig

The pace of privately owned new residential construction slowed in September, as starts in the multifamily sector fell, and those in the single-family group were flat compared to August.

Including single-family homes and buildings with five or more units, the overall annual rate of housing starts was down 1.6% month over month to 1,555,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Starts were up 7.4% compared to a year ago.

The monthly decrease was driven by a 5.1% slide in the rate of multifamily starts, which hit 467,000. That rate is 38.2% higher than it was in September 2020, according to a press release.

Single-family housing starts, meanwhile, were flat at 1,080,000 units. Year over year, that represents a 2.3% decline from the September 2020 rate of 1,105,000.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate for privately owned housing units authorized by building permits was at 1,589,000 in September, down 7.7% from August’s revised rate and flat compared to August 2020.

Privately owned housing completions hit an annual rate of 1,240,000 in September, down 4.6% from August’s revised rate and down 13% from a year earlier.

By region, September new construction activity was strongest in the West, with a 19.3% gain from August, followed by the Midwest, where it rose 6.9%. In the North, housing starts fell 27.3%, while they fell 6.3% in the South.

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