Housing Permits Hit 12-year High in October

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist


  • Homebuilding activity, measured by housing permits and starts ROSE 5 percent in October with permits hitting a post-Recession high
  • Permits and starts data for September were revised upward, slightly reducing the October increase;
  • The seasonally adjusted annual rate of total starts ROSE 3.8 percent or 48,000 to1.31 million;
  • Starts for new single-family homes ROSE 2.0 percent or 18,000 to 936,000;
  • The rate of total housing completions ROSE 117,000 or 10.3 percent in October;
  • The SAAR of single-family completions ROSE 4.5 percent or 39,000.


  • Total permit activity for rose to the highest level since May 2007;
  • Single-family permit activity rose to its highest level since August 2007;
  • Single-family housing starts were up year-year for the fifth straight month for the first time since early 2018.

 Data Source: Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development

Image result for homebuilding industry

Single-family homebuilding moved higher in October reinforcing solid builder confidence levels according to the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The HUD-Census report offers a new narrative for the housing sector but doesn’t immediately reverse sluggish sales of both new and existing single-family homes even as the median price of a new single- family home dropped in September (latest data) to a 31-month low.  (The report on October new home sales and prices is scheduled for release next Tuesday.)

The uptick in both permits and starts comes as good news for construction employment which has grown just 0.5 percent since the beginning of the year compared with 3.6 percent growth in the first 10 months last year. According to the most recent Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey data, the number of construction job openings rose 6.7 percent in September (most recent data).

Hear Mark Lieberman every Friday at 6:20 am on POTUS Morning Briefing, Sirius-XM 124. You can follow him on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

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