Hurricanes slow September housing production nearly 5%

WASHINGTON — Nationwide housing starts fell 4.7% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.13 million units, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Commerce Department. Nationwide single-family production fell 4.6% to 829,000 units due to a 15.3% decline in the hurricane-ravaged South. All other regions posted gains in the single-family sector, and nationwide single-family permits increased 2.4%.

August housing production has slipped just .08%.

“We are seeing the hurricanes take a toll on single-family production, but builder confidence is strong and production should bounce back as the recovery process gets underway,” said Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in an announcement Oct. 18.

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“Looking at historical data, there is a pattern of decreased production immediately following natural disasters but economic fundamentals will drive the longer-term trend in housing starts,” said NAHB Senior Economist Michael Neal. “Nationwide single-family permits are up this month, and year-to-date single-family starts are 9.1% ahead of their level over the same period last year—two indicators that this sector continues to improve.”

Regionally in September, combined single- and multifamily housing production rose 15.7% in the West. Starts fell 9.2% in the Northeast, 9.3% in the South and 20.2% in the Midwest.

Overall permit issuance in September was down 4.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.22 million units. Single-family permits rose 2.4% to 819,000 units while multifamily permits fell 16.1% to 396,000.

Regionally, overall permits rose 9.2% in the Northeast and 0.5% in the Midwest. Permits fell 5.6% in the South and 9.2% in the West.

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