Housing starts fall flat in April

Lloyd Doyle
May 16, 2018

USA new-home construction declined in April as fewer starts of apartment projects outweighed a modest improvement in single-family structures, government figures showed Wednesday.

A new home under construction is seen in Los Angeles, California, U.S. February 2, 2018.

Overall housing starts ran at an annualized pace of 1.28 million units, down 3.7 percent from the March level.

Data for March was revised to show starts rising to a 1.336 million-unit rate instead of the previously reported 1.319 million-unit pace.

Single-family housing starts rose month over month by 1,000 in April to 894,000. Permits, a proxy for future construction of all types of homes, fell 1.8% to 1.35 mln rate (matching est.).

"The drop [month over month] was broad based, as construction slowed in three out of the four regions in the US", said Sam Khater, chief economist for Freddie Mac. Single-family homebuilding has lost momentum since setting a 948,000-unit pace last November, which was the strongest in more than 10 years. These constraints have left builders unable to plug an acute shortage of houses on the market, restraining home sales growth.

Multi-family permits slumped by 6.3% to a rate of 493,000 in April after soaring by 20.4% to 526,000 in March.

Permits for new single-family homes rose month over month in April from a revised annual rate of 851,000 in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 859,000.

The number of single-family units completed fell 4.0 percent in April.

"On an April year-to-date basis, the supply-starved West region was by far the most vibrant, growing construction region, with a 28 percent increase in construction", Khater said.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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