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December Multifamily Slump Just 'Noisy Data,' Economist Says

December Multifamily Slump Just 'Noisy Data,' Economist Says

Multifamily housing starts dropped 11.7% in December, data from the Commerce Department says, indicating lost momentum for the industry heading into the new year.

But the declining numbers don't mean much, Newmark Knight Grubb Frank economist Bob Bach tells Bisnow. “I think it means very little because the data are so volatile from month to month,” he says.

Total housing starts dropped 2.5% to 1.15 million annualized, down from 1.18 million in November. However, the three-month trailing average increased by 5.7% compared to November.

In fact, the real number to look at, Bob tells us, is the 17% year-over-year gain in multifamily construction. "The December reading is nothing more than a case of noisy data.”