Housing starts plunge 11% in October on fewer apartment buildings by Josh Boak, The Associated Press

I have been telling you that housing was NOT recovering despite what the media was reporting. They had been including apartment construction which skewed the numbers and made it look like housing was recovering when it was not.

Also the pullback in apartment construction should be good news for owning apartments. Stay in the B and C+ product and markets with B locations or better and I believe they will continue to prove to be good investments long term. – Grant Cardone

WASHINGTON – Apartment construction plunged sharply in October, as the pace of homebuilding slipped amid a broader cooling of the real estate market.

Housing starts — both houses and apartments— fell last month 11% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.06 million homes, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

Single-family house construction declined 2.4%. Last month’s drop mostly stemmed from a 25.5% slide in the volatile multi-family category that includes apartments, a sector that had posted a sharp increase in September. The government also revised downward overall housing starts in September and August.

The slowdown comes after a steady year of gains. Home construction has climbed 10% year-to-date as solid levels of hiring have improved consumer confidence and encouraged more people to buy houses or move to new apartment complexes.

The additional construction marked a turnaround for a real estate sector that had been among the weakest pieces of the recovery from the Great Recession.

Yet the market’s upward trajectory now shows signs of stalling as rising prices, tight inventories and the economic uncertainty reflected in the stock market have sidelined many would-be buyers.

Building permits rose 4.1% in October to an annual rate of 1.15 million after falling in September. The rebound last month suggests that apartment construction, which accounted for the majority of the increase, could swing upward in the coming months as more Americans have turned to renting.

Nearly 33% of buildings completed so far this year were apartment complexes and condo towers, compared to just 27% before the start of the recession in late 2007. The recovery from that economic downturn over the past six years has reshaped the housing market as those who lost their homes to foreclosures and recent college graduates have moved into rental properties.

The percentage of Americans who own homes has fallen to nearly a 48-year low of 63.7%.

And the growth in home sales enjoyed this year appears unsustainable without significant income growth. Relatively low supplies of homes on the markets have pushed prices upward, straining down payments savings.

Sales of existing homes jumped 4.7% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.55 million, the National Association of Realtors said last month.

The housing market contains 4.8 months’ supply of homes, significantly lower than the six months associated with a strong market.

Tight inventories have fueled rising home values. The median home sales price was $221,900 in September, a 6.1% annual increase.

An index of pending home sales slipped in September and builders are slightly less optimistic about sales going forward. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Tuesday slipped in November to 62, down three points from a revised reading of 65 in October.

Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good, rather than poor. The index has been consistently above 50 since July last year.

Originally posted on USA Today by Josh Boak, The Associated Press

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