Housing Starts Overall Upsurge, While Single-Family Wanes

Home-building in March picked up, with housing starts on a 1.9 percent surge and totaling 1.32 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Single-family starts waned, down 3.7 percent to 867,000. Multifamily starts (five units or more) came in at 439,000.

“The modest decline in single-family starts in March is still in line with our solid builder confidence readings and is largely attributable to lingering winter weather that is causing production delays in certain areas of the country,” said Robert Dietz, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), in a statement. “With ongoing job creation, wage increases and rising household formations, we can expect continued, gradual strengthening of the housing market in the coming months.”

Approvals for builds rose, 2.5 percent from February to 1.35 million permits, according to the data; however, approvals for single-family starts were down 5.5 percent, to 840,000 permits, while approvals for multifamily starts came in at 473,000.

“Builders are optimistic about future demand for housing and are ramping up production to meet this demand,” said Randy Noel, chairman of the NAHB. “Single-family starts dropped slightly this month, but single-family permits year-to-date are up 5 percent from their level over this same period in 2017.”

Completions withered, down 5.1 percent to 1.22 million. Completions for single-family units totaled 840,000 (down 4.7 percent), while completions for multifamily units totaled 371,000.

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