Privately owned housing starts and new construction authorized by permits were both above last month’s levels in the single-family sector, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau. The upward trend is likely welcomed for an industry marred by low inventory and rising prices. 

“With such low levels of inventory across the country, this continued construction is needed to maintain the momentum of home sales we experienced throughout the summer,” Bill Banfield, Quicken Loans’ executive vice president of capital markets, said in a statement. “It will also play an especially important role in making sure home prices remain affordable for buyers, and not counteract the savings gained from historically low-interest rates.”

In total, privately owned housing units authorized by building permits dropped 0.9 percent month over month and 0.1 percent year over year in August. Single-family permits were 6 percent above July levels.

Privately owned housing starts were down 5.1 percent month over month but up 2.8 percent year over year. Single-family housing starts in August were up 4.1 percent for the month prior.

While the forward-looking indicators may signal relief in the near term, privately-owned housing completions were down 7.5 percent month over month and 2.4 percent year over year in August. Even the single-family sector was down 4.4 percent from the month prior.

Email Patrick Kearns

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