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Homebuilding in the United States has risen in the last decade until last August when construction of new apartments took a sharp decline. However, single-family house construction crept higher for the fourth month in a row.

The U.S. Commerce Department reported that the total onset housing construction declined by 9.4% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.26 million units. [1] It was also reported that new apartment construction took a steep plunge by 28.3% to an annual pace of 327,000.

In September, the recent decline in Northeast home construction was the highest in the country at 34.4%. The Midwest suffered another drop in home construction at 18.9% while the South experienced a 4% drop and the West 1.9%.

Reassurance with the Increase in Housing Permits

The report assured that the housing market is solid, regardless of September’s drop. There was a 1.6% increase in construction homes and apartments in the past year, and construction of single-family houses climbed up 0.3% last month to a yearly rate of 918,000.

‘‘The upward trend for single-family construction aligns with other housing data that show strong demand for new homes by homebuyers in response to lower mortgage rates and rising incomes,’’ said Ben Ayers, senior economist at Nationwide. ‘‘The extremely tight inventory for existing homes is also pushing more buyers into the market for new homes.’’ [2]

“Multifamily housing starts fell from an unsustainably high level in August and are running at a solid pace despite the sharp monthly decline,” said Chief Economist of National Association of Home Builders, Robert Dietz. “Meanwhile, the rebound for single-family construction continues. Single-family permits have increased since April, and single-family starts have posted gains since May. In another positive development, September marked the first monthly increase for the number of single-family homes currently under construction since January.” [3]

Despite the drop in home construction, the acquisition of building permits has risen by 7.7% over the past year. Permits for single-family home construction increased to 2.8% last month compared to last year when apartment permits increased 20%.

What Does This Mean for Construction Workers?

According to a survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of American and Autodesk, 80% of the 2,500 participants said it’s difficult for them to find qualified applicants for craft positions, and the same percentage is reflected region by region. [4]

With fewer housing starts and more construction positions to be filled, 62% of construction companies have hiked up the base pay rates over the past couple of years. Therefore, it’s easier for qualified construction workers to find well-paying positions, despite the recent decline in Northeast home construction.


With this good news, if you’d like to learn more about what it takes to become a construction worker, feel free to reach out to a construction safety consultant at The Safety Group by calling our New York location at 212-933-9071 or our Philadelphia location at 215-475-5810 to get started today!





[1] Washington Post – U.S. home-building numbers down in Sept. amid drop in apartment construction

[2] U.S. News – US Single Family-Home Construction Ticks Up, Apartments Fall

[3] National Association of Home Builders – Single-Family Housing Starts Hold Firm in September

[4] Associated General Contractors of America – Eighty Percent of Contractors Report Difficulty Finding Qualified Craft Workers to Hire as Association Calls for Measures to Rebuild Workforce