New residential construction activity jumped 2.2% in April, from 1,371,000 units at the annual rate in March to 1,401,000 units, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
What’s going on: Starts of single-family housing increased approximately 1.6% in April, to 846,000 units from 833,000, the highest in four months.
- Multifamily housing starts rose more than twice that, 3.2%, to 555,000 from March’s 538,000.
However … Overall, new housing starts have dropped 22.3% in the past year, with single-family construction activity having dipped 28.1% year-over-year.
New housing permits: New housing permits, which are a proxy for future residential building, declined 1.5% in April, to 1,416,000 units from an annualized 1,437,000 units.
- But single-family housing permits increased for the third month in a row, up 3.1% to 855,000 units from 829,000 units, the greatest rate since September.
- Meanwhile, multifamily housing activity declined 7.7%, to 561,000 units from 608,000 units, a 21-month low.
The NAM says: “Issues of affordability and an uncertain economic outlook have impacted the new housing starts negatively over the past year,” NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray said.
- “But Americans have become accustomed to the ‘new normal’ in mortgage rates, with would-be homebuyers coming back into the market—albeit still at a sluggish pace. As such, the stronger single-family housing starts and permits data in April were encouraging.”