April Starts Hike Puts Housing Back on Track
Housing starts in April climbed 11% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.038 million units and were 3.6% above the pace of a year earlier, the Commerce Department reported last week.
“After a temporary fall-off in March that appeared to be largely weather-related, housing is back on track,” said NAHB President David Wilson. “Our surveys show that builders remain confident about the market, and mortgage rates remain extremely attractive at under 6%. This bodes well for the housing market in the coming months.”
“Today’s housing report should dispel any further concerns of a soft patch in the economy,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders. “Following lackluster readings in March, the latest employment, retail sales and trade numbers are all better than expected. The economy and housing market are still fundamentally solid.”
Single-family starts last month increased 6.3% to 1.635 million units, roughly equal to the April 2004 pace. Turning in a brisker performance, multifamily housing starts soared 35.2% to an annual rate of 403,000 units, a 17.2% increase over a year earlier.
Construction of new homes and apartments increased 25% in the South, 6.2% in the Midwest and 2.5% in the West. Unusually wet weather put a damper on the Northeast, where housing starts declined 17.8%.
The number of building permits issued last month increased 5.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual total of 2.129 million units.
“Builders are positioned quite well,” said Seiders. “Demand remains strong and inventories are low. We expect housing to remain strong in 2005.”
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