Issuance of new building permits rose 6.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.034 million units in October due primarily to a double-digit increase on the multifamily side, the U.S. Census Bureau reported.
This follows a 5.2 percent increase in permit issuance in September to 974,000 units. Census figures for nationwide housing starts for September and October have been delayed until Dec. 18 as a result of last month's partial government shutdown.
"Despite the recent government shutdown, builders feel a housing recovery is still under way," said Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association (NAHB) and a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. "However, this fragile recovery still faces a number of challenges, including uncertainty in Washington, tight credit conditions for home buyers and limited availability of labor and lots."
"Permits are often a harbinger of future housing activity and the strong showing in the multifamily sector along with stable numbers on the single-family side bode well for a continuing, gradual upturn in housing over the coming months," said NAHB senior economist Robert Denk. "But consumer and builder confidence could be seriously undermined unless policymakers make progress over looming budget, tax and economic policy issues in the weeks and months ahead."
Multifamily permit issuance rose 15.3 percent to 414,000 units in October while the single-family side posted a 0.8 percent gain to 620,000 units.
Regionally, permits issuance in October held steady at 101,000 units in the Northeast and rose 15.4 percent in the West and 9.4 percent in the South. The Midwest posted a 9.6 percent decline.