The 9.0% U.S. housing starts plunge
The 9.0% U.S. housing starts plunge in September followed only tiny upward revisions to leave a weak path through Q3, though analysts did see a 6.3% permits pop that suggests a housing starts rebound in Q4. Weakness was concentrated in multi-family units, but extended across all regions but the west. Starts under construction fell 0.1% to leave the first decline since August of 2011, though this followed big prior gains that left a solid trend intact. Completions tracked starts with an 8.4% drop. Analysts still expect starts to grow at a 7% rate in Q4 after a 7.1% Q3 contraction rate, while permits climb at a 7% rate in Q4 after a 12.5% Q3 pace. Completions should rise at a 6% rate in Q4 with gains in starts and permits, though analysts've seen recent declines here of 4.7% in Q3 and 6.0% in Q2. The weakness in headline starts and new residential construction in Q3 is disconcerting, though the bulk of available housing data are posting erratic but positive growth through 2016.