Steel Markets

Housing Starts Fall in August Despite Single-Family Gains

Written by Sandy Williams

Housing starts fell 5.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.42 million in August due to declines in multi-family construction. Single-family housing starts rose 4.1 percent from July’s annual rate, but multi-family starts plunged more than 20 percent, according to data from U.S. Housing and Urban Development and the Commerce Department.

Building permits slipped 0.9 percent from July to a SAAR of 1,470,000 driven by a decline in multi-family authorizations. Single-family permits jumped 6.0 percent from July.

“Total housing starts were down in August on a decline for multifamily construction, with multifamily 5+ unit permits now down 8.3 percent on a year-to-date basis,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “But low interest rates and solid demand are spurring single-family construction growth, which makes up the bulk of the housing market. Single-family permits continue to rise as well and are now up almost 7 percent on a year-to-date basis.”

Regional permit authorizations fell from July levels everywhere except for the South, which had a 6.0 percent gain. Housing starts grew 28.4 percent in the Midwest and 19.5 percent in the West, but plummeted 33.1 percent in the Northeast and 17.7 percent in the South.

“Consistent with surging builder confidence, single-family starts rose in August to meet rising buyer traffic,” said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke. “Builders continue to face concerns in terms of rising lumber prices and supply chain shortages of other building materials.”

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