The Census Bureau New Residential Construction report for September shows housing continues to weaken.

Housing Starts

Privately‐owned housing starts in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,201,000. This is 5.3 percent below the revised August estimate of 1,268,000, but is 3.7 percent above the September 2017 rate of 1,158,000. Single‐family housing starts in September were at a rate of 871,000; this is 0.9 percent below the revised August figure of 879,000. The September rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 324,000.

Building Permits

Privately‐owned housing units authorized by building permits in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,241,000. This is 0.6 percent below the revised August rate of 1,249,000 and is 1.0 percent below the September 2017 rate of 1,254,000. Single‐family authorizations in September were at a rate of 851,000; this is 2.9 percent above the revised August figure of 827,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 351,000 in September.

Housing Completions

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Privately‐owned housing completions in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,162,000. This is 4.1 percent below the revised August estimate of 1,212,000, but is 7.0 percent above the September 2017 rate of 1,086,000. Single‐family housing completions in September were at a rate of 844,000; this is 8.7 percent below the revised August rate of 924,000. The September rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 312,000.

Year-Over-Year Mirage

Those year-over-year improvements are a mirage. September was a very easy comparison.

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Year-over-year comparisons in November and January through May of 2019 will look miserable.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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