Single-Family Housing Starts Continue to Drop
In October, single-family housing starts dipped 4.5 percent, from 549,000 units to 531,000, according to Census Bureau reports.
The slowdown was expected as “surveys of builder confidence and market expectations have been hovering in a historically low range for the past nine months,” says Sandy Dunn, president of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
The multifamily housing starts rate paralleled the continued deterioration in the single-family market, dipping 6.8 percent in October from 279,000 units to 260,000 units.
Overall, the October housing starts rate fell 4.5 percent to 791,000 from September's rate of 828,000.
The building permit rate also dropped 12 percent in October, down to 708,000 units from September's rate of 804,000. During the same month, the single-family rate fell to 460,000 units from 538,000. And the multifamily rate also fell to 248,000 units to 267,000.
The forecast is for a continued drop in the production of single-family starts through the end of 2008. Major reasons are the overhang of a large number of vacant housing units that are contributing to weak demand in the marketplace, consumer awareness of the issue, and record job losses occurring in the economy.
Further reading: For more information about housing starts last year, see “In the News: Home Sales, Housing Starts, Building Permits Drop in 2007,” Insider, May 2008, p. 8.
Sandy Dunn: President, National Association of Home Builders, 1201 15th St. NW, Washington, DC 20005; (202) 266-8200; http://www.nahb.org.