There was a lack of growth in housing starts in August. Total starts declined 11.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.283 million units (Briefing.com consensus 1.435 million). Single-unit starts were down 4.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 941,000.
There was better news on the permits front. Total building permits increased 6.9% to 1.543 million (Briefing.com consensus 1.442 million) with permits for single units up 2.0% to 949,000.
Total starts were the weakest since June 2020.
The change in single-unit starts by region: Northeast (-1.8%); Midwest (-12.3%); South (+8.1%); and West (-26.9%).
The change in single-unit permits by region: Northeast (+5.9%); Midwest (+2.6%); South (+1.8%); and West (+1.5%).
Multi-unit starts were down 26.3% month-over-month and multi-unit permits were up 15.8% month-over-month.
The number of units under construction at the end of the period dipped 0.2% month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.688 million.The key takeaway from the report is that starts were clearly weak in August, yet the strength in permits -- a leading indicator -- lends some hope that September will feature better news on the home construction front, which is needed given the tight supply of existing homes for sale.