US Housing Starts: September 2017

The US Commerce Department revealed Wednesday in the latest data, that housing starts in the US decreased 4.7 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.127 million units in August.

US Housing Starts

The US Commerce Department said Thursday that the drop in September data was the lowest level since September 2016 and marked the third monthly decline in starts.

Groundbreaking for new home construction tumbled 9.3 per cent in the South to the lowest level since October 2015, with single-family homebuilding in the region plunging 15.3 per cent to more than a one-year low. The South, which was pummeled by Harvey and Irma, accounts for almost half of the nation’s homebuilding.

Building permits fell 4.5 per cent to a rate of 1.215 million units in September. Permits in the South dropped 5.6 percent. The Commerce Department said the areas in Texas and Florida impacted by the storms account- ed for about 13 percent of U.S. building permits in 2016.

Permits for building a new single-family home rose 2.4 per cent. Permits for the construction of multi-family homes dropped 16.1 per cent. Despite the drop, permits continued to outpace starts, a positive sign for future multi-family construction.

New Home Sales, US: September 2017

Said Bloomberg Thursday after US housing starts data for September was released:

“The roots of pricier building supplies stretch from the wildfire-stricken forests of British Columbia to the hurricane-affected coasts of Texas and Florida. Supply concerns and home-rebuilding efforts, along with US duties on Canadian timber [read: lumber — ed], have driven softwood lumber prices on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange to the fifth-highest peak since 1986.”

New Home Sales, US:

September marked the third month in a row that new home sales in the US fell, as transactions took an 8.1 per cent dive compared to last year—the largest decline posted since July 2016, the report said—and down 17 per cent from August, according to a Redfin report released Thursday.

The total number of new homes for sale dropped, down 10.9 per cent to 754,800 units, marking the 24th straight month of declining inventory. The number of new listings in September fell 7.7 per cent from a year ago, leaving 3.3 months of supply, the report said. Less than six months of supply signals that the market is tilted in favour of sellers.

On the bright side, price-growth remains strong, up 7.6 per cent in September to a national median sales price of a new home at US$288,000 across all 75 metro areas Redfin tracks. That median price, though, was 1 per cent less than last month, at US$293,000.