Nationwide housing starts rose 13.7% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.29 million units after a slight upward revision to the September reading, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Commerce Department. This is the highest housing production reading since October 2016, when total starts hit a post-recession high of 1.33 million.
Single-family production rose 5.3% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 877,000. Year-to-date, single-family starts are 8.4% above their level over the same period last year. Multifamily starts jumped 36.8% to 413,000 units after a weak September report.
"This uptick in housing production is aligned with our reports of strong builder confidence," said Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas. "Our members are optimistic about the future of the housing market, even as uncertainties remain and they continue to face supply-side issues."
"We are seeing solid, steady production growth that is consistent with NAHB's forecast for continued strengthening of the single-family sector," NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz said. "As the job market and overall economy continue to firm, we should see demand for housing increase as we head into 2018."
Regionally in October, combined single- and multifamily housing production rose 42.2% in the Northeast, 18.4% in the Midwest and 17.2% in the South. Starts fell 3.7% in the West.
Overall permit issuance in October was up 5.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.3 million units. Single-family permits rose 1.9% to 839,000 units while multifamily permits fell 9.5% to 458,000.
Permits rose in all four regions. They increased 13.0% in the West, 4.1% in the Northeast, 3.8% in the Midwest and 3.0% in the South.