Housing starts, building permits slump in September; SFH construction slowest since 1982
* Overall housing starts came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 817,000 last month, down 6.3% from 872,000 in August. Starts were down 31.1% from 1.185 million in September 2007 and well below forecasts for a reading of 872,000. That brings the total peak-to-trough decline in starts to a whopping 64%. The peak reading for starts was 2.27 million units in January 2006.
* Building permit issuance fell 8.3% to 786,000 units from 857,000 in August. That's down 38.4% from the year-earlier reading of 1.277 million, well below forecasts for a number of 840,000, and the lowest reading since November 1981. Permit issuance is down 65.3% from the September 2005 peak of 2.263 million units.
* Breaking it down by property type, single-family starts plunged 12% to 544,000 - the lowest level going all the way back to February 1982. Multifamily starts rose 7.5% to 273,000. Single-family permitting activity dropped 3.8% to 532,000, while multifamily permitting dropped 16.5% to 254,000.
* Regionally, starts fell 20.1% in the Northeast and 16.8% in the West. They inched up 0.5% in the South and rose 5.6% in the Midwest.