The total number of single-family permits issued during the first 10 months of the year reached 727,301—a 1.6% year-over-year decline over the October 2018 level of 739,120—according to the National Association of Home Builders.
Single-family permits declined in three of the four regions in the U.S., with the South Region posting a slight increase of 1.3%. The Northeast posted the largest decline at 5.9%, while the West and Midwest declined by 4.7% and 5.1%, respectively
Nineteen states saw increases in single-family permits from October 2018 to October 2019, while 31 posted a decline. The District of Columbia recorded the highest growth at 37.6%. Montana had the highest decline in single-family growth at 21.4%.
The 10 states issuing the highest share of single-family permits accounted for 60.6% of the total single-family permits issued.
The Census Bureau reported last month the single-family starts rose 2% in October and housing completions were 10.3% higher from September’s 1.13 million.
“Construction activity reflected elevated home builder sentiment, which reached a 20-month high in October,” said realtor.com’s Senior Economist, George Ratiu.
Building permits rose in October to 1.46 million, which is 5% higher than the September rate of 1.39 million and a 14% increase from the October 2018 rate of 1.28 million.
First American Financial Corporation Chief Economist Mark Fleming noted low mortgage rates, rising household income, and a surge of millennials had boosted the demand for housing. Fleming, though, said inventory would continue to be an issue.
BuildFax’s Housing Health Report echoed the Census Bureau’s sentiment, reporting single-family authorizations rose 2.33% year-over-year, and the existing-housing maintenance volume rose 6.08% annually.
“Last November, housing activity experienced the first instance of blanket declines since 2011, when the economy was still recovering from the 2008 recession. Almost a year following November’s declines, we’re now seeing blanket increases,” said Jonathan Kanarek, Managing Director of BuildFax. “In light of the recent upswing in housing activity, it’s likely the 2019 housing slide was a stabilization of a white-hot market. This is, of course, further bolstered by a strengthening economy that recently experienced interest rate cuts, steady wage growth, and a reversion in the yield curve.”