Housing Starts Basically Flat In May

Housing starts in May were at an annual rate of about 1.164 million, a decrease of about 0.3% compared with an annual rate of about 1.167 million in April, but an increase of 9.5% compared with about 1.063 million in May 2015, according to figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The agencies note that they revised their previous estimates for April.

Starts of single-family homes were at a rate of about 764,000, an increase of 0.3% compared with a rate of about 762,000 in April. Starts of multi-family housing units were at a rate of about 396,000, an increase of 1.3% compared with a rate of about 391,000 units the previous month.

Building permits in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.138 million, an increase of 0.7% compared with about 1.130 million in April, but a decrease of 10.1% compared with about 1.266 million in May 2015.

Permits for single-family homes were at a rate of about 726,000, an increase of 2.0% compared with about 741,000 as of April. Permits for multifamily units were at a rate of 381,000, up 6.7% compared with about 357,000 in April.

“Despite May’s relatively flat report, our builders are telling us that the market is improving and consumers are more ready and willing to make a home purchase,” says Ed Brady, chairman of the National Association of Home Builder (NAHB), in a statement.

“Builder confidence rose this month and single-family housing starts are up roughly 10 percent from a year ago – two indicators that we can expect further growth in housing production this year,” adds Robert Dietz, chief economist for NAHB. “However, builders continue to face supply-side constraints, such as shortages of buildable lots and labor.”

“Following a slight comeback in April, May’s housing starts took a dip, but the revisions may reveal something different,” says Ray Rodriguez, regional mortgage sales manager for TD Bank. “In addition, we remain optimistic that we will see an increase in the coming months to support the ongoing recovery of the housing market.”

For more, including a regional breakdown, click here.


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