Single-family starts flat in September
Washington, DC – Single-family production remained stable in September as strong demand helped offset ongoing disruptions in the construction materials supply chain. Meanwhile, declines in multifamily housing production helped drive the total number of housing projects down 1.6% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.56 million, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the United States. US Census Bureau.
The September reading of 1.56 million single-family homes is the number of home builders who would start if development continued at this pace over the next 12 months. Within this total number, the number of single-family first-time buyers was essentially unchanged from the previous month, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.08 million, and up 20.5% year-to-date. The multi-family sector, which includes condominiums and condominiums, declined 5.0% to a pace of 475,000.
“Single-family home construction continued in September following recent, more sustainable trends,” said Chuck Fowke, president of NAHB. “Wood prices have moved away from recent lows, but the cost and availability of many building materials remains a challenge in a market that is still out of inventory. Policy makers must continue to work to improve supply chains.”
NAHB chief economist, Robert Dietz, added: “Builders’ confidence increased in October, confirming the stabilization of housing construction at current levels. The number of single-family homes in the construction pipeline is 712,000, almost 31% higher than a year ago As more inventory comes to market, multi-family construction has also expanded, with nearly 6% year-on-year gains for apartments currently under construction.”
On a regional and year-to-date basis (January to September 2021 compared to the same period a year ago), combined single-family and multi-family starts are 28.9% higher in the Northeast, 12.1% higher in the Midwest, 18.6 % higher in the south and 22.6% higher in the west.
The total number of licenses decreased by 7.7% in September to 1.59 million units year on year. Single family permits decreased 0.9% to a unit rate of 1.04 million. Multi-family permits declined 18.3% to a pace of 548,000.
Looking at year-over-year regional permit data, permits are 19.6% higher in the Northeast, 19.9% higher in the Midwest, 22.9% higher in the South and 25.0% higher in the West.