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ArlingtonReal EstateHousing starts tumble as economic headwinds grow

Housing starts tumble as economic headwinds grow

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Elevated mortgage rates, high construction costs for concrete and other building materials and weakening demand stemming from deteriorating affordability conditions continue to act as a drag on single-family housing production.

Overall housing starts decreased 4.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.43 million units in October, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Within this overall number, single-family starts decreased 6.1 percent to an 855,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate, a slight improvement from the year-to-date decline of 7.1 percent. The multi-family sector, which includes apartment buildings and condos, decreased 1.2 percent to an annualized 570,000 pace.

“Builders are slowing construction as demand retreats due to high mortgage rates, stubbornly elevated construction costs and declines for housing affordability,” said Jerry Konter, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a builder and developer from Savannah.


2022 will mark the first year since 2011 for a full-year decline in single-family starts, said NAHB chief economist Robert Dietz.

“We are forecasting additional declines for single-family construction in 2023, which means economic slowing will expand from the residential-construction market into the rest of the economy,” Dietz said.

There was a good deal of regional disparity in the data. On a regional and year-to-date basis, combined single-family and multi-family starts are 2.9 percent higher in the Northeast, 1.5 percent lower in the Midwest, 2.6 percent higher in the South and 5.1 percent lower in the West.

Overall permits decreased 2.4 percent to a 1.53-million-unit annualized rate in October. Single-family permits decreased 3.6 percent to an 839,000 unit rate; multi-family permits decreased 1 percent to an annualized 687,000 pace.

Looking at regional permit data on a year-to-date basis, permits are 2.8 percent lower in the Northeast, 0.2 percent higher in the Midwest, 1.1 percent higher in the South and 4 percent lower in the West, according to the new data.

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