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Financial News: U.S. Housing Starts Slump To Lowest Level In

U.S. Housing Starts Slump To Lowest Level In A Year In September

10/18/2017 - 09:14:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - With Hurricanes Harvey and Irma disrupting new residential construction in the South, the Commerce Department released a report on Wednesday showing a substantial decrease in housing starts in the month of September.

The Commerce Department said housing starts plunged by 4.7 percent to an annual rate of 1.127 million in September from the revised August estimate of 1.183 million. Housing starts has been expected to edge down by 0.5 percent.

The much bigger than expected decrease pulled housing starts down to their lowest level since hitting 1.062 million in September of 2016.

The sharp drop reflected notable decreases in both single-family and multi-family starts, which tumbled by 4.6 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively.

The Commerce Department said housing starts in the South slumped by 9.3 percent, as single-family starts in the region plummeted by 15.3 percent.

The Northeast and Midwest also saw declines in housing starts, although the weakness in both regions was in multi-family starts.

Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, also tumbled by 4.5 percent to an annual rate of 1.215 million in September from a revised 1.272 million in August. Economists had expected building permits to drop by 2.9 percent.

The pullback in building permits came as multi-family permits plunged by 16.1 percent, more than offsetting a 2.4 percent increase in single-family permits.

Despite the monthly decrease, the Commerce Department said housing starts in September were up by 6.1 percent compared to the same month a year ago. Building permits were down 4.3 percent year-over-year.

On Tuesday, the National Association of Home Builders released a separate report showing an unexpected improvement in U.S. homebuilder confidence in the month of October.

The report said the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index surged up to 68 in October after dropping to 64 in September. Economists had expected the index to come in unchanged compared to the previous month.

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