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Housing starts fall slightly in August

Posted on Wednesday, September 30, 2015 at 9:00:50 AM

Housing starts edged downward a bit in August, a possible sign that the market is beginning to level off. Or maybe, just a quirk of the fluctuating sector. 

Construction on homes and apartments dropped sharply in the Northeast and Midwest, and fell slightly in the South and West, The New York Times reported. Commerce Department data indicates that overall, housing starts ticked down 3 percent month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.13 million homes, though construction activity remains stronger than it was a year ago. 

Despite the slight month-over-month drop, housing starts have been steadily climbing through the year, though figures have been somewhat volatile. Through 2015 housing starts have increased 11.3 percent, partially due to monthly job gains and, subsequently, rising demand for housing and residential financing. The increased construction activity can also be attributed to broader economic growth.

Additionally, the drop in housing starts may have nothing to do with any weakness in the market. Experts noted that high numbers in June and July followed by a drop in August could have been the result of developers rushing to start projects in New York before the expiration of tax incentives last month, according to the Wall Street Journal. Another sign that August could have been a mere blip is that building permits - an indicator of future construction - increased 3.5 percent to 1.17 million in August. 

While up-and-down numbers continue to characterize the housing market month-to-month, signs point toward positive momentum in the sector.