WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) – Starts of new U.S. homes plunged 14.6% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.486 million, the lowest level in more than six years, the Commerce Department estimated Friday. Building permits fell 6.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.535 million, the lowest level in nine years. It was the largest percentage decline in permits in seven years. Housing starts are now down 27.4% from October 2005 levels. Building permits are down 28% year-on-year. The decline in October was much larger than expected by Wall Street economists, who were forecasting a 4.5% drop in starts to 1.69 million. Building permits were expected to fall about 1% to 1.62 million.
From the U.S. Census Bureau:
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in October were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,535,000. This is 6.3 percent (±1.2%) below the revised September rate of 1,638,000 and is 28.0 percent (±1.2%) below the October 2005 estimate of 2,131,000.
Privately-owned housing starts in October were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,486,000. This is 14.6 percent (±7.6%) below the revised September estimate of 1,740,000 and is 27.4 percent (±5.3%) below the October 2005 rate of 2,046,000.
Privately-owned housing completions in October were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,953,000. This is 3.8 percent (±7.9%)* below the revised September estimate of 2,031,000 and is 0.7 percent (±7.5%)* below the October 2005 rate of 1,967,000.
Will be updated as new reports are released