A lot is being made of Tuesday’s October homebuilder’s index increasing to 18 from 14, the highest reading in 17 months. The headline “jump” is nice, but overall the index is still weak.
Wednesday’s October housing starts and building permits numbers also attracted some notice as housing starts increased 15.0% in September. For the third quarter, housing starts are up an annualized 33.3%. But single-family starts rose a modest 1.7%. The big gain was in the multi-family category, which was up over 51%! The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that 2,548 different multifamily lenders provided $68.8 billion in mortgage financing for apartment buildings with five or more units in 2010, which is up 31% from 2009. In the multifamily area, just 1% of the lenders accounted for 51% of the dollar volume, while three-quarters of the lenders made five or fewer loans over the course of the year. The top 5 were Wells Fargo, CBRE Capital Markets, Berkadia Commercial Mortgage, PNC, and Prudential Mortgage Capital.