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Nov. 20, 2007 - Increase In Multifamily Construction Lifts Total Housing Starts In October

A bounce-back in the volatile multifamily market lifted total housing starts 3 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.229 million units as the downswing in the single-family housing market continued, according to figures released by the Commerce Department today. Total starts were down 16.4 percent from a year earlier.

Single-family housing starts dropped 7.3 percent for the month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 884,000 units, the lowest monthly production rate since October 1991 and 25.1 percent below October 2006.

“The large October bounce-back in multifamily starts reflected typical month-to-month volatility, while the pattern of multifamily permits shows that this sector is gradually losing momentum,” said National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist David Seiders. “The large declines in single-family starts and permits clearly show that this component of the housing market still is weakening seriously.”

Multifamily housing starts rose 44.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 345,000 units in October after dropping 35.9 percent to a 239,000-unit pace the month before. The pace of multifamily construction was 19.4 percent above October 2006.

Total building permits were down 6.6 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.178 million units. Total permits were down 24.5 percent from a year earlier.

Single-family permit issuance was down 8 percent to a pace of 807,000 units for the month, the lowest pace since November 1991 and 31.0 percent below October 2006.

The rate of multifamily permit issuance was down 3.4 percent to 371,000 units for the month. The pace was 4.9 percent below a year earlier.

Regionally, starts of new homes and apartments were up in the Northeast, Midwest and West by 8.5 percent, 21.1 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively. Housing starts were down in the South by 4.6 percent.

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