Multifamily housing starts, which typically show significant volatility from month to month, declined 22% in April to an annual rate of 274,000 units.
Starts were down 11% in the South, 7% in the Midwest, 1.3% in the Northeast and less than 1% in the West.
Building permits, which can be an indicator of future building activity, rose across the board in April. Overall, permits were up 1.2% to a solid 1.71 million-unit rate, while single-family permits rose at the same pace to a rate of 1.33 million units — exactly on par with the total permits issued last year.
Multifamily permits rose 1.1% to 381,000 units during the month.