Nationwide housing starts fell 0.8 percent in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.18 million units, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Commerce Department.

Single-family production rose 1.6 percent in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 851,000 after a downwardly revised July reading. Year-to-date, single-family starts are 8.9 percent above their level over the same period last year. Multifamily starts dropped 6.5 percent to 329,000 units after an upward July revision.

“This month’s report shows that single-family starts continue to move forward at a gradual, consistent pace,” said NAHB chief economist Robert Dietz. “The three-month average for single-family production has reached a post-recession high, but the months ahead may show volatility given that the building markets affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma represent about 14 percent of national production.”

“We are paying close attention to the communities affected by these hurricanes, and are helping them start on the rebuilding and restoration process,” said Granger MacDonald, chair of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas.

Regionally in August, combined single- and multifamily housing production rose 22.0 percent in the Midwest and 4.0 percent in the West. Starts fell 7.9 percent in the South and 8.7 percent in the Northeast.

Overall permit issuance in August was up 5.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.30 million units. Single-family permits edged down 1.5 percent to 800,000 units while multifamily permits rose 19.6 percent to 500,000.

Regionally, overall permits rose 15.3 percent in the West, 8.8 percent in the Midwest and 3.7 percent in the South. Permits fell 13.0 percent in the Northeast.

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