Housing starts in October rose by 3.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,314,000, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development.

After several months of gains, starts are up 8.5 percent year-over-year. Building permits for private homes rose by 5 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1,461,000. Completions, meanwhile, rose 10.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1,256,000.

“October’s housing starts were a robust rebound from last month and a sign that builders are optimistic about the direction of the housing market,” Zillow economist Matthew Speakman said in a statement. “Low mortgage rates have buoyed demand for homes, helping drive strong builder confidence despite a shortage of buildable lots and available labor.”

Census Bureau

Building permits, housing starts and completions are all up both monthly and year-over-year. Permits, in particular, rose the most — they are now 14.1 percent higher than the October 2018 rate of 1,281,000. Authorizations for single‐family homes are at a rate of 909,000 while permits for units in buildings with five units stood at 505,000 in October.

While it is too early to tell whether this burst of housing activity will last into the new year, Speakman said October’s numbers show that builders are aware of the current inventory shortage and are starting to take action.

“Builders continue to add homes at a healthy rate, doing what they can to address an inventory shortage that is holding back the housing market,” Speakman said. “Permits for future building were also above expectations, another indication that new home building has plenty of legs as we face into winter.”

Email Veronika Bondarenko

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