Madison Report: New home sales take wild ride
November 30, 2022 | 1:25 pm CST

VANCOUVER, BC, -- Sales of new homes in the US have bumped up and down for the second half of this year and recovered upward once again in October. While it is true that a slowdown is apparent in both construction and home buying activity, it is important to note that new building activity year-to-date remains almost even compared to January - October of 2021.

Total housing starts in the US for October 2022 fell -4.2% to 1.425 million units compared to the 1.488 million units reported for September, and were down -8.8% from the October 2021 rate of 1.563 million. Data for September 2022 was revised sharply higher, from the previously reported 1.439 million units.

After popping up in September, building permits in October dropped by -2.4%, to 1.526 million units from 1.564 million. This is -10.1% below the October 2021 rate of 1.698 million. During the first ten months of this year building permits were down only slightly compared to the same period in 2021. 

It is interesting to note that total permits in August were 1.542 million units, just +7.6% above starts for October. As there is usually a two-month lag between a building permit and a housing start, this data indicates a good momentum for ongoing construction activity.

Combined, there was a very high 1.722 million units under construction, 794,000 of those single-family homes. This is well above the historical record-high of 1.628 million units that were under construction in 1973. These will eventually become starts and help to underpin residential construction.

October starts of single-family housing, the largest share of the market and construction method which uses the most wood, were down by -6.1% to a rate of 855,000 units. Single-family authorizations were at 839,000 units, which is -3.6% below the September figure of 870,000 units. Building permits are generally submitted two months before the home building is begun, so this data is an indicator of December construction activity.

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Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).