Housing Starts Plunge 14% on Volatile Apartment Sector – Recovery?

Home Construction Drops 14.4 Percent as Building Permits Also Slide

U.S. home construction plunged in August, led by a steep decline in the volatile apartment category. But single-family house construction, a larger and more stable portion of the market, fell only modestly.

Construction fell 14.4 percent in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 956,000 homes, the Commerce Department said Thursday. This reverses the sharp gains in July when the rate of new construction rose to 1.12 million homes, the highest annual rate since 2007.

Last month’s decrease primarily came from builders starting fewer apartment complexes, which plummeted 31.5 percent compared to July. Apartments have propelled much of the growth in residential construction over the past year, but the pace has been volatile from month to month. Apartment starts surged 51 percent in July.

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