A new report from the U.S. Census Bureau showed that privately-owned housing starts in October grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 1.290 million units. That was a 13.7 percent jump from September’s upward-revised print, the first monthly increase since May, and much better than economists had anticipated. Most of the strength occurred in multi-family (rental) housing starts, which surged by 37.4 percent last month, but single-family starts also rose by a healthy 5.3 percent. Regionally, housing starts fell in the West (-3.7 percent) in October but lifted in the Northeast (+42.2 percent), the Midwest (+18.4 percent), and the South (+17.2 percent).
Building permits also increased in October, which is supportive of the continued rebound in homebuilder confidence. Indeed, new data from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) showed that sentiment jumped in November to the highest reading in eight months, including solid gains in respondents’ views of sales conditions and prospective buyer traffic. NAHB chairman Granger MacDonald added that “November’s builder confidence reading is close to a post-recession high — a strong indicator that the housing market continues to grow steadily. However, our members still face supply-side constraints, such as lot and labor shortages and ongoing building material price increases.”
Sources: Econoday, ZH, Census Bureau, NAHB, FRBSLPost author: Charles Couch