WASHINGTON – A bounce-back in the volatile multifamily market lifted total housing starts 3.0% in October to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.229 million units as the downswing in the single-family housing market continued, according to figures released by the Commerce Department

Total starts were down 16.4% from the previous year. Single-family housing starts dropped 7.3% for the month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 884,000 units, the lowest monthly production rate since October 1991 and 25.1% below October 2006.

“Builders continue to do what they absolutely have to do in this market downturn. They are repositioning themselves for the market’s eventual recovery by cutting back on production and working down their inventories,” said Brian Catalde, president of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a homebuilder from El Segundo, CA.

“The large October bounce-back in multifamily starts reflected typical month-to-month volatility, while the pattern of multifamily permits shows that this sector is gradually losing momentum,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders. “The large declines in single-family starts and permits clearly show that this component of the housing market still is weakening seriously.”

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