US Housing Starts Fall on Retreat in Apartment Building

17 May, 2018, 18:47 | Author: Regina Silva
  • US Housing Starts Fall on Retreat in Apartment Building

Permits for multifamily homes were at a rate of 450,000, a decrease of 7.4% compared with 486,000 in March.

Housing starts declined 3.7 percent to 1.2 million starts in April below the revised March estimate of 1.3 million but were 10.5 percent above the April 2017 rate according to the latest data on housing starts and building permits released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Wednesday.

Overall permits-which are a sign of future housing production activity-inched down 1.8 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.35 million units after a post-recession high in March.

The April reading of 1.29 million units is the number of housing units builders would begin if they kept this pace for the next 12 months.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast housing starts decreasing to a pace of 1.310 million units last month and permits declining to a 1.350 million-unit rate.

Single-family home building, which accounts for the largest share of the housing market, edged up 0.1 percent to a rate of 894,000 units last month.

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Single family starts came in flat mostly, rising 0.1 percent. On a regional level, the HMI scores in the West and Northeast held steady at 76 and 55, respectively, as the HMI scores in the South and Midwest each both dropped one point to respective levels of 72 and 65.

The report showed 163,000 homes were authorized for construction in April but not yet started, up 14% from 143,000 a year ago and indicating a steady pace of homebuilding in coming months. April marks the fourth month in a row of double-digit moves in multi-family housing starts. "However, builders must manage supply-side hurdles, such as ongoing building material price increases and shortages of land and labor, to meet growing housing demand".

The Trump administration in April past year imposed anti-subsidy duties on imports of Canadian softwood lumber.

The result was still 10.5 percent above the pace of construction in the same month previous year.

"Multi-family units are at lower price points and include significant rental units", he said. "Lumber prices continue to rise, with recent increases adding more than $7,000 to the price of an average single-family home".

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