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Nationwide housing starts fell 4.8 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.16 million units, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Commerce Department. Single-family production slipped 0.5 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 856,000 after a strong, upwardly revised June reading. Year-to-date, single-family starts are 8.6 percent above their level over the same period last year. Multifamily starts dropped 15.3 percent to 299,000 units.

“The overall strengthening of the single-family sector is consistent with solid builder confidence in the market,” said Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas. “The sector should continue to firm as the job market and economy grow and more consumers enter the housing market.”

“New-home production numbers this month are in line with our forecast for a slow and steady recovery of the housing market,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “We saw multifamily production peak in 2015, and this sector should continue to level off as demand remains solid.”

Regionally in July, combined single- and multifamily housing production rose 0.6 percent in the South, and fell 1.6 percent in the West, 15.2 percent in the Midwest and 15.7 percent in the Northeast.

Overall permit issuance in July was down 4.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.22 million units. Single-family permits held steady at 811,000 units while multifamily permits fell 11.2 percent to 412,000.

Regionally, overall permits rose 19.2 percent in the Northeast. Permits fell 1.4 percent in the South, 7.9 percent in the West, and 17.4 percent in the Midwest.

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