Permits for new single family houses jumped 11.6 percent in September.  The seasonally adjusted annual rate rose from a revised August estimate of 801,000 to 894,000 in September and the August number was an upward revision from the 801,000 originally reported.   The September total was 45.1 percent above the 616,000 rate reported in September 2011.

Permits for construction of units in buildings with five or more units jumped to an annual rate of 323,000 units compared to 263,000 in August (+22.8 percent).  Permits for single family houses were up 6.7 percent from August to 545,000 but August permits were revised slightly downward to a rate of 511,000 from 512,000. 

Housing starts also increased sharply to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 872,000 units.  This is a 15.0 percent increase from August and starts for that month were revised upward to 758,000 units from an original estimate of 750,000.  The September estimate is 13.8 percent above the rate in September 2011 of 647,000.

Single-family starts increased to 603,000 from 543,000 in August.  The August figure was also a substantial upward revision from the 535,000 units originally reported.  An estimated 260,000 units were started in multi-family buildings, up from 208,000 in August.

Housing completions increased only modestly month-over-month, up 0.4 percent to 683,000 from 680,000.  The current figure is a 13.8 percent increase over a year earlier.  Single family completions were at a rate of 524,000, up 8.5 percent from August and multi-family units were completed at the rate of 145,000.

On a regional basis permits increased across the board and housing starts were up in every region except the Northeast.   Housing completions increased in two of the four regions.

In the Northeast permitting increased by 6.0 percent from 83,000 in August to a rate of 88,000 in September, 31.3 percent higher than one year ago.  Housing starts were at a rate of 75,000 units, down from 79,000 in August but 12.2 percent higher year-over-year.  Housing completions went from a rate of 61,000 to 80,000, an increase of 31.1 percent.

The Midwest saw permits increase to 147,000 from 123,000 in August, an increase of 19.5 percent and 33.6 percent above a year earlier.  Housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 143,000, 6.7 percent higher than August and 47.4 percent higher than a year previous.  Completions were at the rate of 115,000, down 3.4 percent from a month earlier but up 26.4 percent year-over year.

In the South permits were issued at an annual rate of 452,000 compared to 409,000 in August (+10.5 percent) and 47.2 percent higher than in September 2011.  Housing starts were up 19.9 percent from August and 19.1 percent from a year earlier to 315,000.  Completions rose 4.2 percent from August and 15.7 percent from September 2011 to a rate of 346,000.

The West saw an 11.3 percent increase in the rate of permitting to 207,000 permits from 186,000 in August and a 56.8 percent improvement over one year earlier.  Housing starts were at a rate of 203,000 compared to 169,000 in August, a 20.1 percent improvement.  Completions were down 15.5 percent from August to 142,000.

At the end of September there were 90,800 permits that had been issued but on which work had not yet been started.  More than half (46,600) were for multi-family units.