WASHINGTON — Nationwide housing starts fell 5.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.14 million units in August, according to newly released data from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development and the Commerce Department. Overall permit issuance edged 0.4% lower.
“After two months of gains, the housing market gave back a bit in August,” said Ed Brady, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Bloomington, Ill. “However, with builders reporting low inventory levels and rising confidence, we expect more consumers will return to the market in the months ahead.”
“The August reading represents a one-month blip in what has been a long-term, gradual recovery,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “On a year-over-year basis, single-family starts are up 9% while multifamily construction continues to level off at a solid level as that sector seeks to find a balance between supply and demand.”
Both housing sectors posted production declines in August. Single-family housing starts fell 6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 722,000 units while multifamily production declined 5.4% to 420,000 units.
Combined single- and multifamily starts increased in three of the four regions in August. The Northeast, Midwest and West posted respective gains of 7.6%, 5.6% and 1.8%, respectively. The South registered a 14.8% decline.
Single-family permits rose 3.7% in August to a rate of 737,000 while multifamily permits dropped 7.2% to 402,000.
Permit issuance increased 5.1% in the Northeast, 4.2% in the Midwest and 0.7% in the West. Meanwhile, the South posted a loss of 3.4%.