Permits for new residential construction were issued at a lower rate in October than in September according to the monthly report issued on Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Building permits were issued at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 866,000, down 2.7 percent from September's rate of 890,000, but 29.8 percent higher than the October 2011 estimate of 667,000.  The September rate was adjusted downward from an original estimate of 894,000.

During the month there were 562,000 permits issued for single family construction, 2.2 percent above the September estimate of 550,000.  The September number is an upward revision from the 545,000 originally reported.  Multifamily units were permitted at a rate of 280,000 in October compared to a downwardly revised 313,000 units in October.   

Housing starts were at a rate of 894,000, an increase of 3.6 percent from the revised September estimate of 863,000 and 41.9 percent higher than the rate one year earlier of 630,000.  September's figure is a downward revision from the 872,000 reported last month.

Single family units were started at a rate of 594,000, a 0.2 percent decrease from September's 595,000 (revised from 603,000).  Multi-family starts numbered 285,000 compared to 259,000 in September.

Privately owned housing units were completed at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 772,000, a 14.5 percent increase from 674,000 in September.  The original September estimate was 683,000 units. Single family units were completed at a rate of 542,000, a 3.4 percent increase and multi-family units at a rate of 226,000 compared to 145,000 in September.

Permits in the Northeast were down 12.5 percent from the previous month and starts were down 6.5 percent.  In the Midwest the change was +4.1 percent and 8.9 percent respectively.  Permitting was essentially unchanged in the South and starts decreased by 2.5 percent.  In the West permitting was down 10.7 percent but starts increased 17.2 percent.

At the end of the period there were 517,000 units under construction across the U.S. with 233,000 of them in buildings with 5 units or more. 

Building Permits

Housing Starts