Housing Starts Down but Building Permits Up

November 17, 2010

Yesterday, Chicagoland Real Estate Forum reported that builder confidence in new home construction improved slightly this month.

Today, the U.S. Commerce Department had good news and bad news on new construction.

Let’s get the bad out of the way:

U.S. housing starts fells 11.7 percent in October to 519,000, the lowest level in 18 months.

That sucks, though regionally, us Midwesterners are still doing OK.

Building permit, a hammer and a rulerFor October, housing starts:

*Fell 30.5 percent in the West (yikes!)

*Fell 13.4 percent in the South

*Rose 12.9 percent in the Northeast

*Rose 1.0 percent here in the Midwest (yay!)

A little more breakdown of the numbers: The 11.7 percent drop comes mainly because of a 43.5 percent drop in multi-family unit construction.

Construction of single-family homes, which accounts for more than 80 percent of all starts, fell only 1.1 percent last month.

October is over. Shake it off. Now let’s move on to the future and the better news:

The Commerce Department also reported Wednesday that applications in October for building permits, which gauges future construction, increased 0.5 percent to 550,000.

It might be slight, but at least it’s moving in the right direction.

Let’s hope for a continuation of better numbers ahead.

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