The rate of U.S. housing starts fell an estimated 30.7 percent year-over-year in October, with building-permit authorizations down about 24.3 percent, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development reported today.
The seasonally adjusted annual rate of starts fell to 529,000 in October, which is about 10.6 percent below the September estimate — the rate is a projection of the monthly total over a 12-month period, adjusted for typical seasonal fluctuations.
Single-family housing starts were down 10.9 percent year-over-year in October and down 6.8 percent from September 2009, according to the latest monthly report.
The rate for single-family building-permit authorizations was down 4 percent year-over-year in October and dipped only slightly (-0.2 percent) from September 2009 to October 2009.
Regionally, total October housing starts were down 33.2 percent year-over-year in the South, 32.1 percent in the West, 26.3 percent in the Northeast and 23.1 percent in the Midwest, while single-family starts were down 17.5 percent in the Northeast, 16.8 percent in the Midwest, 16.5 percent in the West and 4.9 percent in the South from September 2009 to October 2009.
Total building-permit authorizations in October were down 29.1 percent year-over-year in the West, 24.5 percent in the South, 22.9 percent in the Midwest and 15.8 percent in the Northeast, with single-family permit authorizations down 12.2 percent in the Midwest, 4.1 percent in the Northeast, 3.7 percent in the South and up 2.1 percent in the West, the agencies reported.
David Crowe, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders, said in a statement that builders "were clearly in a holding pattern in October as the future of the homebuyer tax credit hung in the balance." President Obama signed legislation on Nov. 6 that extends and expands the homebuyer tax credit program (see story).
Crowe added, "The fact that permits for single-family construction remained roughly unchanged in the month is an indication that builders are preparing for the possibility of more favorable housing market conditions in the future. That said, significant challenges continue to confront builders with regard to obtaining financing for viable projects and appropriate appraisal values on newly built homes."
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