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Single-family housing production in October reached its highest level since November 2013, while the more volatile multifamily sector brought combined nationwide starts activity down 2.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.009 million units, according to newly released figures from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Census Bureau.
"The rise in single-family starts is more proof that the economy is firming and consumer confidence is growing," said Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del. "We expect continued upward momentum into next year."
"The increase in single-family starts shows that the housing market continues to recover at a steady, gradual pace," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "On the multifamily side, production is stabilizing above historic levels as demand for rental housing increases."
The 2.8 percent decline in overall starts in October was due primarily to a 15.4 percent decline on the multifamily side, which brought that sector's annual production pace to 313,000 units on a seasonally adjusted annual basis. Meanwhile, single-family starts posted a 4.6 percent gain to 696,000 units.
Regionally in October, combined housing production dropped in Northeast, Midwest and West, with respective losses of 16.4 percent, 18.5 percent and 10.9 percent. Total production rose in the South by 10.1 percent.
Issuance of building permits registered a 4.8 percent gain to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.08 million units in October. Multifamily permits rose 10 percent to 440,000 units while single-family permits increased 1.4 percent to 640,000 units.
Regionally, the Northeast and Midwest registered overall permit losses of 21.5 percent and 11.4 percent, respectively. The South and West posted respective gains of 8.8 percent and 21.6 percent.