Starts of new homes rose 1.5% to a level of 1.228 million units (SAAR) in October from September, but were 2.9% below October 2017. The month-over-month increase was due to a jump of 10.3% in multi-units to 363,000, while single-family units declined 1.8% to 865,000. Compared to a year-ago, single-family starts were down 2.6% and multi-units were 3.7% lower.
Starts were uneven across regions. They were up 32.9% in the Midwest and 4.7% in the South. Starts were down 34.1% in the Northeast and 4.6% in the West. The gain in the Midwest represents a substantial rise to 210,000 and was above the recent trend. It may reflect some backlog from the summer month when lack of labor and materials slowed some building. The decline in the Northeast was likely a correction after a sharp rise in the prior month. The South is seeing higher starts in part due to rebuilding after two major hurricanes. The West is probably impacted by large wildfires in California.
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