Residential construction numbers were mixed in August. Home builders apparently worked on drawing down their backlogs of permits rather than seeking new ones while construction starts soared. The U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development report that permits were issued at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.517 million compared to a rate of 1.685 million in July, a decline of 10.0 percent month-over-month and 14.4 percent below the August 2021 rate. Single family permits decreased from 932,000 to 899,000, a 3.5 percent decline, and multifamily permits dropped 18.5 percent to 571,000. Single family permitting is now 15.3 percent off the prior August pace and multifamily permitting is down 14.5 percent. There were 136,400 permits issued during the month, up from 134,400 in July. Single family permits totaled 80,900 compared to 75,600 the previous month. [housingpermitschart] So far this year (YTD) there have been 1.176 construction permits issued, nearly identical to the number at the same point in 2021. Single family permits are down 6.6 percent to 726,700 while permits for units in buildings with five or more have increased by 14.4 percent to 413,900. Housing starts jumped 12.2 percent in August from a downwardly adjusted 1.404 million to 1.575 million in August. This is nearly identical to the rate of starts in August 2021. Single-family starts rose 3.4 percent to 935,000 but remain 14.6 percent below the 1.095 million rate of starts a year earlier. Multifamily starts increased by 28.6 percent and 31.0 percent from the two earlier time periods. [housingchart]

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