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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts Weaken in September
by Tom Moeller  October 19, 2022

• Both single and multi-family starts decline.

• Regional declines remain mixed.

• Building permits improve modestly.

Total housing starts fell 8.1% (-7.7% y/y) during September to 1.439 million units (SAAR) from 1.566 million in August, revised from 1.575 million. Starts in July were revised to 1.377 million from 1.404 million. Starts overall were 20.3% lower last month than the April 2022 peak. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 1.47 million starts in September.

Single-family starts weakened 4.7% (-18.5% y/y) in September to 892,000 after rising 4.0% to 936,000 in August. Single-family starts were 31.8% below their December 2020 peak. Multi-family starts declined 13.2% (+17.6% y/y) to 547,000 after rising 32.1% in August. They were 13.4% below the April 2022 peak.

Housing starts remined regionally mixed. In the South, housing starts declined 13.7% (-8.8% y/y) to 738,000 following a 20.8% August increase. Starts in the Northeast fell 12.5% (+15.7% y/y) to 147,000 after holding steady in August. Starts in the Midwest weakened 2.7% (-10.8% y/y) in September to 182,000 after rising 16.1% in the prior month. Working 4.5% higher (-11.2% y/y) to 377,000 were starts in the West after a 4.7% August increase.

Building permits improved 1.4% (-3.2% y/y) in September to 1.564 million after falling 8.5% in August. Single-family permits weakened -3.1% (-17.3% y/y) to 872,000. It was the seventh consecutive monthly decline. Multi-family permits increased 7.8% (+23.4% y/y) to 692,000 after falling 14.7% in August.

The housing starts and permits figures can be found in Haver's USECON database. The expectations figure is contained in the AS1REPNA database.

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