September U.S. Housing Starts Take Step Back
U.S. housing starts did not turn out as expected in September, according to the latest release from the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development. Privately-owned housing starts staggered slightly from August to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.201 million in September.
Economists surveyed by Reuters expected starts to decline, however, at a much slower pace to a rate of 1.22 million. The actual decline was more than 5% below the revised August estimate, yet September housing starts are still nearly 4% higher than the September 2017 rate. Single-family starts also dipped slightly month to month.
Much of the setback can be attributed to Hurricane Florence, which hit the Carolinas early last month, and rising mortgage rates, said Reuters and a report from Wells Fargo Securities. Housing starts in the South declined nearly 14% in September compared to August, yet building is still ahead of the September 2017 pace. The Northeast had the most growth at 29%.
Building permits and housing completions were also down in September.
-Michael Miller, managing editor