The annual pace of housing starts in the U.S. fell 2.8 percent from September to October but remains 7.8 percent higher versus the same time last year as the pace of construction for structures with five or more units slumped 15.5 percent in October (down 6.8 percent year-over-year) but single-family home starts increased 4.2 percent (up 15.4 percent year-over-year).

While overall housing starts slipped, permit activity to start construction increased 4.8 percent in October to an annualized rate of 1.08 million, the highest pace since June of 2008 and 1.2 percent higher versus the same time last year, up 2.4 percent for single-family homes but down 1.5 percent for multi-family units.

In the west, total housing starts are down 0.5 percent year-over-year, up 16.9 percent for single-family homes, while permit activity is up 17.6 percent, down 3.6 percent for single-family homes.

There are currently 812,000 units of housing under construction across the U.S., of which 369,000 are single-family homes.  That’s roughly half the number needed to keep pace with historic population growth household formations.

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