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New Home Starts Fell in May

New residential construction decreased 14.4% from April to May, down to 1,549,000 units from 1,810,000 units at the annual rate, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The change marked the slowest pace of growth since November 2020.

The details: Single-family housing starts dipped 9.2%, to a 21-month low of 1,051,000 units from 1,157,000 units.

  • Multifamily activity, which can be highly volatile from month to month, fell 23.7%, to 498,000 units from 653,000 units.
  • On a year-over-year basis, new housing starts have fallen 3.5% in the past year.

More declines: New housing permits, a proxy for future residential construction, decreased to 1,695,000 units from an annualized 1,823,000 units, an eight-month low.  

  • Permits for single-family homes declined 5.5%, down to 1,048,000 units from 1,109,000 units, the weakest reading since July 2020.
  • Multifamily permits decreased 9.4%, down to 647,000 units from 714,000 units.

The NAM’s take: “These figures continue to reflect significant cooling in the housing market, which has been rocked by sharply higher mortgage rates, issues surrounding affordability of housing units and renewed uncertainties in the economic outlook,” said NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray. “On these concerns, builder sentiment in the June NAHB survey was the lowest since June 2020.”

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