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--5 Things We Learned From September New Residential Construction Data
By Kevin Kastner
     WASHINGTON (MNI) - The following are the key points from the 
September new residential construction data released Wednesday by the 
Commerce Department: 
     - September housing starts fell by 5.3% to a 1.201 million annual 
rate, well below the 1.220 million pace expected following mixed 
revisions to the July and August data. After those revisions, third 
quarter starts averaged 1.218 million, down from 1.261 million in the 
second quarter.
     - Effects from Hurricane Florence could be seen in a 13.7% decline 
in starts in the South, and further effects are likely from Hurricane 
Michael with the October data, but there should be a boost later in the 
year as rebuilding efforts begin. Starts were down 14.0% in the 
Midwest, but rebounded by 29.0% in the Northeast and rose 6.6% in West.
     - Building permits posted a 0.6% decrease to a 1.241 million rate, 
below the 1.260 million rate expected and the slowest pace since May 
2017. Permits in the South were actually up 0.6%, but the translation to 
starts will be slower than normal due to the hurricanes. Homes permitted 
but not started fell by 0.6%, but were up 3.5% in the South. The NAHB 
index was rose slightly to 68 in October when it was released on 
     - Single-family housing starts fell by 0.9% in September, while 
multi-family starts plunged by 15.2%. Single-family building permits 
rose by 2.9%, but multi-family permits fell by 7.6%. 
     - Homes under construction were up 0.3% in September, but 
completions fell by 4.1% to a 1.162 million pace, slowest since 
November. These categories should decline further in the coming months, 
with the effects of Hurricanes Florence and Michael weighing on home 
building in the short term. 
     ** MNI Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 **