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--September Building Permits Down 0.6% To 1.241m SAAR, Low Since May'17
--Starts, Completions Decline Sharply In South Region
By Kevin Kastner
     WASHINGTON (MNI) - The pace of housing starts fell by 5.3% to a 
1.201 million seasonally adjusted annual rate in September, below 
expectations for a 1.220 million rate and showing a hurricane impact on 
the South regions, data reported by the Commerce Department Wednesday 
morning indicated. 
     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. 
     Housing starts fell by 14.0% in the Midwest to join the decline in 
the South, but starts rose by 29.0% in the Northest to more than recover 
the loss in August. Sales were also up 6.6% in the West.
     Housing starts of single-family homes fell by 0.9% in September 
after a 2.1% increase in the previous month, while multi-family starts 
fell by 15.2% in September, based on an MNI calculation. This followed a 
20.4% jump in the previous month. 
     Building permits fell by 0.6% in the month to a 1.241 million rate 
after falling to 1.249 million in August, hitting its lowest point since 
1.205 million in May 2017. 
     This decline was driven by a drop in multi-family permits, offset 
by a gain in single-family permits. Homes permitted but not started fell 
by 0.6% in September, also driven by multi-family homes. 
     The housing starts average pace for the third quarter was 1.218 
million, down from the 1.261 million second quarter average after all 
revisions were included. The third quarter permits pace, at 1.264 
million, was down from the 1.319 million second quarter average. 
     Homes under construction were up 0.3%, but completions were down 
4.1% to their slowest pace since November, suggesting a slowdown in new 
home supply in the near term. 
     ** MNI Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 **
[TOPICS: MAUDS$,M$U$$$,MT$$$$]