The Official Online Newspaper of NAHB
Nationwide housing starts fell 10.6% in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 523,000 units, according to figures from the U.S. Commerce Department released on May 17.
"While mortgage rates are low and house prices are as affordable as they've been in a generation, the decline in April's housing starts is indicative of the low level of confidence that consumers have in the housing market," said NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen.
"Consumers have not yet reached a level of confidence that is strong enough to begin lifting the housing market," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.
"The fundamentals — such as economic growth and employment — are beginning to shape up and will eventually provide enough momentum to push housing forward at a healthy pace,” Crowe said.
“But until then, builders are unwilling to move forward,” he said. “The issuance of housing permits, an indication of future housing activity, has remained at about the same level as the first quarter of the year."
Single-family starts declined 5.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 394,000 units in April.
Multifamily starts — which tend to display greater volatility on a month-to-month basis — fell 24.1% to a rate of 129,000 units after jumping 30.8% the month before.
Regionally, starts declined 4.8% in the Northeast and 23.0% in the South but increased 15.7% in the Midwest and 3.7% in the West.
Total permit issuance for new homes in April dropped 4.0% to 551,000 units. Single-family permits dropped 1.8% to 385,000 units and multifamily permits declined 8.8% to 166,000 units.
Regionally, permit issuance was unchanged in the Northeast and declined 5.3% in the Midwest, 5.7% in the South and 0.8% in the West.
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