Permits, starts and completions all drop below 2017 levels

Permits for new construction, housing starts and housing completions were all below 2017 levels, in October, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

New privately-owned housing units authorized by permits sat at a seasonally adjusted rate of 1,263,000, a 0.6-percent decline from last month and 6 percent below October 2017.

Housing starts came in at a seasonally-adjusted rate of 1,228,000, which was a 1.5 percent jump up from last month, but 2.9 percent below October of last year. Housing completions were also down significantly to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1,111,000, which was 3.3 percent below last month and 6.5 percent below October 2017.

“Consumers are less optimistic about home buying right now, and builders are starting to notice,” Danielle Hale, chief economist at said, in a statement. “While still at a positive level, confidence slipped notably in November.”

“Looking ahead, starts could slip further if builders believe the consumer pause will continue and they adjust production accordingly,” Hale added. “Rising home prices and rising mortgage rates have created high hurdles for homebuyers while cost increases make it difficult for builders to deliver homes at the price points that are most in-demand.”