All three reports on residential
construction activity in September were disappointing, but no more so than any of the other housing data that speaks to the ongoing process of leveling-off. While there had been some erosion expected
from the August numbers, the actual data did not meet analysts' expectations. Upward revisions to August permitting took
some of the sting out of that report, but the opposite happened with housing
starts. Results were particularly poor
in the South, likely resulting from the impact of Hurricane Florence.
Permits for residential construction were
issued at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,241,000 units. This is 0.6 percent lower than the August
estimate of 1,249,000 and 1.0 percent below the annual rate of 1,254,000 the
previous September. The August number
was an upward revision from the 1,229,000 units previously reported, wiping out
some of that month's original 5.7 percent loss.