Privately-owned housing starts in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 872,000, 15 percent above the revised August estimate of 758,000 and 34.8 percent above the September 2011 rate of 647,000, according to the most recent numbers from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Single-family housing starts in September were at a rate of 603,000, 11 percent above the revised August figure of 543,000.
"Builders are responding to the rising demand for new homes as consumers begin to feel more confident about their local markets and put back into motion purchasing plans that were on hold during the recession," said Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. "Yet, while September's surge in activity is certainly encouraging, we need to remember that we still have a long way to go back to a fully functioning market -- and in order to get there, significant challenges must still be addressed in terms of credit availability and appraisal issues, as well as the increasing cost of building homes due to rising materials prices and a declining inventory of buildable lots."
"Today's strong report corresponds with the significant gains we've seen in builder confidence over the past year, and confirms our view that a housing recovery is solidly underway in a growing number of markets nationwide," added NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "That said, we are now almost at the half-way mark in terms of what would be considered a normal amount of new-home construction in a healthy economy, and we need to see consistent improvement like this over an extended period to get back to where the market should be in terms of generating jobs and economic growth."
The overall gain in new-home construction in September was reflected across both the single- and multifamily sectors, with the first posting an 11 percent gain to a rate of 603,000 units - the best pace since August of 2008 - and the second posting a 25.1 percent gain to 269,000 units - the best pace since September of 2008.
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 894,000. This is 11.6 percent above the revised August rate of 801,000 and is 45.1 percent above the September 2011 estimate of 616,000. Single-family authorizations in September were at a rate of 545,000; this is 6.7 percent above the revised August figure of 511,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 323,000 in September.
Regionally, permit issuance rose across the board in September, with the Northeast posting a 6.0 percent gain, the Midwest posting a 19.5 percent gain, the South posting a 10.5 percent gain and the West posting an 11.3 percent gain.