Haver Analytics
Haver Analytics
| Nov 17 2023

U.S. Housing Starts & Building Permits Improve in October

  • Rise in starts is led by multi-family; single-family gain is modest.
  • Changes are mixed across country.
  • Building permits gain also is paced by multi-family.

Despite the recent surge in mortgage rates, total housing starts rose 1.9% (-4.2% y/y) during October to 1.372 million (SAAR) after increasing 3.1% in September to 1.346 million, revised from 1.358 million. Starts were 23.9% below the most recent peak of 1.803 million in April 2022. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 1.347 million starts in October.

Starts of multi-family units led last month’s gain with a 6.3% increase (-30.0% y/y) to 402,000 following a 5.9% September gain. It was the highest level of multi-family starts in three months. Nevertheless, multi-family starts remain close to their 2020 lows. Starts of single-family homes edged 0.2% higher (13.1% y/y) last month to 970,000 after rising 2.1% in September. Single-family starts have moved up with the advance in single-family home sales.

By region, starts were mixed. Northeastern starts declined 14.5% in October (-24.5% y/y) to 71,000 after a 35.2% September decline. Starts in the Midwest rose 28.4% (5.2% y/y) to 244,000 following an 18.8% September increase. Starts in the South fell 6.8% (-8.1% y/y) to 723,000 after rising 6.0% in September. In the West, starts rose 12.5% (4.7% y/y) to 334,000 last month after rising 4.2% in September.

Building permits increased 1.1% (-4.4% y/y) in October to 1.487 million after a 4.5% September decline to 1.471 million, revised from 1.473 million. Multi-family permit rose 2.2% (-26.4% y/y) to 519,000 after declining 14.3% in September. Single-family permits edged 0.5% higher (13.9% y/y) to 968,000 after increasing 1.6% in September. They have risen for nine straight months.

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

  • Prior to joining Haver Analytics in 2000, Mr. Moeller worked as the Economist at Chancellor Capital Management from 1985 to 1999. There, he developed comprehensive economic forecasts and interpreted economic data for equity and fixed income portfolio managers. Also at Chancellor, Mr. Moeller worked as an equity analyst and was responsible for researching and rating companies in the economically sensitive automobile and housing industries for investment in Chancellor’s equity portfolio.   Prior to joining Chancellor, Mr. Moeller was an Economist at Citibank from 1979 to 1984.   He also analyzed pricing behavior in the metals industry for the Council on Wage and Price Stability in Washington, D.C.   In 1999, Mr. Moeller received the award for most accurate forecast from the Forecasters' Club of New York. From 1990 to 1992 he was President of the New York Association for Business Economists.   Mr. Moeller earned an M.B.A. in Finance from Fordham University, where he graduated in 1987. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from George Washington University.

    More in Author Profile »

More Economy in Brief