The decline in housing starts was largely attributable to a 27% slump in the storm-weary Northeast, where lingering precipitation saturated many building sites. Starts were down 8% in the West, 4.6% in the Midwest and 1% in the South, a region where many states were unaffected by the hurricanes that battered Florida.
Single-family starts in September fell 8.2%, but multifamily activity rose 4.7%.
Building permits for single-family homes last month held firm at August’s impressive level, and permits for multifamily units were up 8.2%.
Permits were up in every region of the country except the West, which experienced a marginal 1.3% decline.
“In terms of our housing forecast, today’s report is right on the money,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders. “Every single region was up for the third quarter, and it’s now clear that housing continued to contribute to economic growth in that period. There’s also little doubt that we’re looking at another record year for single-family home building in 2004 — up about 6% from last year’s record, to 1.6 million units.”
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