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There were fewer groundbreakings across the US last month than in September as the number of multi-family starts plummeted month-over-month, according to the US Census Bureau.

The seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of housing starts was 1,060,000 in October, fell 11 percent from September’s downwardly adjusted rate of 1,191,000, the federal agency said today.

The drop marked a seven-month low for US housing starts, according to Reuters.

The SAAR shows what the number of starts would reach if the month’s pace of activity continued for 12 months.

Most of the groundbreakings tracked last month were for single-family homes. October starts of these homes reached a SAAR of 722,000, down 2.4 percent from the month prior.

Starts for residences comprised of at least five units were at 327,000 in October, a 25.5 decrease from September activity said the Census Bureau.

In its monthly release for September activity, the feds had pegged these multi-unit starts at 454,000. That was a 17 percent jump up from August and a 28.6 percent increase over September 2014.

Though starts were down, the SAAR of building permits was 1,150,000 in October, up 4.1 percent from September’s revised rate of 1,105,000.

These permits provide an indication of future groundbreakings because an owner-builder must typically receive one from their municipality before starting construction.

Some 95 per cent of the US population lives in a place that issues building permits for construction, according to the 2010 US Census.

On average, a contractor-built single-family home takes 0.8 months on average to go from authorization to start and 9.6 months from start to completion.

The number of units for which building permits were applied for also outpaced what was seen during the same period last year. The number was up 2.7 per cent over October 2014’s SAAR of 1,120,000.

The majority of permits were for single-family homes. Owner-builders had intentions to construct these homes at a SAAR of 711,000 in October, up 2.4 percent over September’s downwardly revised estimate. Municipalities authorized residential structures with at least five units at a SAAR of 405,000.

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