September housing starts rise 7% from August

However, building activity remains below September 2022 with the Northeast as one of the weakest residential construction markets in the country during the period

WASHINGTON — September housing starts rose from August, but fell again from September 2022, while the number of permits issued fell from August and September of last year.   

According to recently released figures from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, privately owned housing starts for the month of September totaled 1,358,000, up 7% from a revised August estimate of 1,269,000, but down 7.2% from 1,463,000 in September 2022. The number of building permits issued in September totaled 1,473,000, down 4.4% from the revised August rate of 1,541,000 and down 7.2% from the rate of 1,463,000 in September 2022.

Meanwhile, housing completions totaled 1,453,000 in September, 6.6% above the revised August estimate of 1,363,000 and 1% above the 1,438,000 in September 2022.

Housing starts, building permits and completions for single-family homes were all up in September above August, with housing starts up 3.2% to 963,000 from 933,000; building permits up 1.8% to 965,000 from 948,000; and housing completions up 5.3% to 998,000 from 948,000.

Housing construction is a key factor in home furnishings purchases as people often need new furniture for added rooms or new room configurations in their new homes. Even those downsizing may need smaller-scale pieces to fit into smaller rooms, particularly bedrooms, living rooms and other common areas such as dining rooms.

The numbers are impacted by current mortgage rates, which stood at 8.63% for a 30-year fixed-rate loan as of Oct. 20, compared to 7.32% a year ago. While not a staggering difference, the change could impact how much money borrowers can obtain for a home, particularly if they have a lower credit score.  

Here is a breakdown of figures by region:

+ In the Northeast, housing starts totaled 83,000 in September, down 43.9% from the 148,000 in September 2022 and down 24.5% from 110,000 in August. Also in the Northeast, building permits dropped 16.5% to 106,000 from 127,000 in September 2022 and fell 11.7% from 120,000 in August. The number of units completed in the region totaled 91,000 in September, down 23.5% from the 119,000 issued in September 2022 and down 9.9% from the 101,000 completed in August.

+ In the Midwest, there were 203,000 housing starts in September, up 35.3% from the 150,000 issued in August and down 3.3% from the 210,000 issued in September 2022. Also in the Midwest, there were 189,000 building permits issued in September, down 12.1% from the 215,000 issued in September 2022 and 9.1% from the 208,000 issued in August. In the same region there were 181,000 units completed in September, down 13.4% from the 209,000 completed in September 2022 and down 5.7% from the 192,000 issued in August.

+ In the South, there were 772,000 units started in September, up 4.6% from the 738,000 started in September 2022 and up 6.5% from the 725,000 started in August. There were  820,000 building permits issued in the region, down 4.8% from the 861,000 issued in the region in September 2022 and down 2% from the 837,000 issued in August. There were 824,000 units completed, up 9.3% from the 754,000 units completed in September 2022 and up 9.3% from the 764,000 units completed in August.

+ In the West, there were 300,000 residential units started in September, down 18.3% from the 367,000 started in September 2022 but up 5.6% from the 284,000 started in August. Also in the West, there were 358,000 building permits issued in September, down 7% from the 385,000 issued in September 2022, and down 4.8% from the 376,000 issued in August. There were 357,000 units completed in the West, up .3% from the 356,000 completed in September 2022 and up 16.7% from the 306,000 completed in August.         

Thomas Russell

Home News Now Editor-in-Chief Thomas Russell has covered the furniture industry for 25 years at various daily and weekly consumer and trade publications. He can be reached at and at 336-508-4616.

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