Shaver, Les

For the second consecutive month, multifamily permits came in below 500,000 units. That's after June permits hit a seasonally adjusted, annual rate of 1.343 million, which the highest level for the nation since July 2007.

"The fall-off in permits is a return to normal activity after May-June numbers were substantially inflated by New York City," says Ron Witten, president of Dallas-based Witten Advisors. "There was a tax-incentive program scheduled to expire June 15, so a massive jump in 'starts' occurred to make projects eligible for this program."

Others multifamily economists are seeing the same dynamic.

"It appears we’re just seeing some normalization," says Jay Parsons, Director of Analytics & Forecasts for MPF Research. "The permit numbers jumped aggressively in May and June, but those numbers never seemed sustainable."

Stifel Nicolaus' Rod Petrik pointed out that on a trailing 12-month basis, five-unit-plus permits came in 18.8% year-over-year with permits sitting 29.0% above the 30-year average.

So maybe a little bit of a slowdown isn't a bad thing?