Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

Housing Production Dips 3.7 Percent in US

Housing Production Dips 3.7 Percent in US Housing Production Dips 3.7 Percent in US
Jean Garcia | 17 May, 2018, 18:46

"The details are better than the headlines because all the decline in both starts and permits is in the volatile multi-family sector, where activity was very elevated in March and has now corrected", said Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics. Permits, a proxy for future construction of all types of homes, fell 1.8% to a 1.35 million rate (matching the estimate).

Homebuilding jumped 17.2 percent in the South, the lone region to see an increase - but plunged almost 30 percent in the Midwest, where single-family construction fell faster than apartments. However, they were 7.7 percent above the rate during the same period previous year. Privately-owned housing starts in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,287,000, a 3.7 percent drop from the revised March estimate of 1,336,000 but a 10.5 percent spike from the April 2017 rate of 1,165,000.

A hoped-for spring surge in homebuilding to relieve a worsening national housing shortage didn't materialize in April, U.S. Census Bureau data suggests.

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.

We saw 894,000 single-family housing starts in April, a slight step up from an upwardly revised March figure.

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"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", Dietz adds.

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

Starts of multifamily homes (five units or more per building) were at a rate of about 374,000, a decrease of 12.6% compared with 428,000 in March but an increase of 19.1% compared with April 2017. Single-family permits ticked up 0.9 percent to 859,000 while multifamily permits fell 6.3 percent to 493,000 after a 20.4 percent jump in March.

Housing economists have more closely watched trends in single-family building, which has seen below-average building for several years. Single-family units under construction increased 1.0 percent to the highest level since June 2008.

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