Housing Starts Decline in May, Building Permits Up

June 20, 2012 (Chris Moore)

Housing starts fell for the first time in four months led by a twenty-four percent decline in housing starts for multi-family housing while single-family starts were over twenty-six percent higher than a year ago according to the latest data released by the Census Bureau.

Filings for building permits increased for the month as both multi-family and single-family permits posted double digit gains over last year.

Housing Starts:

Privately owned housing starts fell by 4.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 708,000 in May from a revised estimate of 744,000 in April. Housing starts were still 28.5 percent higher than in May 2011 which had an estimated 551,000 starts.

Single-family housing starts improved in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 516,000, up 3.2 percent from a revised estimate of 500,000 starts in April and up 26.2 percent from May of last year which reported an estimated 409,000 starts.

Housing starts for multi-family dwellings fell 24.2 percent from a revised rate of 236,000 starts in April to a seasonally adjusted rate of 179,000 starts in May. Housing starts for multi-family dwellings were still 31.6 percent higher than a year ago when an estimated 136,000 starts were recorded.

Regionally, monthly housing starts declined in three of the four regions with the Northeast posting the largest decrease of 20.3 percent, followed by the Midwest at 13.3 percent and the South at 6.1 percent. The West region recorded the only increase in housing starts of 14.4 percent.

Compared to a year ago, all four of the regions posted substantial increases in housing starts with the South posting the largest increase of 39.5 percent, followed by the West and the Midwest at 27.5 and 11.0 percent, respectively, while the Northeast reported an increase of 10.5 percent.

Building Permits:

The number of building permits issued in May increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 780,000, up 7.9 percent from a revised estimate of 723,000 permits in April. Authorized building permits were 25.0 percent higher than the May 2011 estimate of 624,000.

Single-family building permit authorizations were 4.0 percent higher in May than April with 494,000 permits authorized in May compared to a revised 475,000 in April. Building permit authorizations for single-family homes were 19.9 percent higher than in May of last year which had an estimated 412,000 permits issued.

Multi-family dwelling permits in May increased to 266,000 authorizations from a revised total of 226,000 in April, a gain of 17.7 percent. Authorizations for multi-family dwellings were 39.3 percent higher than in May of last year which had an estimated 191,000 authorizations.

Building permit authorizations increased in three of the four regions in May compared to April. In the South, authorizations rose by 11.1 percent followed by a 10.5 percent gain in the West while the Midwest recorded an increase of 6.1 percent. In the Northeast, building permit authorizations fell 8.0 percent from the previous month.

Year-over-year, building permit authorizations increased in all four regions with the West posting the largest increase of 30.7 percent, followed by the South which posted a 29.5 percent increase and Midwest and the Northeast saw gains of 21.0 and 2.5 percent, respectively.

Housing Completions:

Housing completions fell by 10.3 percent in May compared to April with a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 598,000 completions reported in May compared to April’s revised estimate of 489,000 completions. Housing completions were 3.6 percent higher than in May of last year when an estimated 543,000 completions were reported.

Single-family completions in May were at a rate of 458,000, which was 6.3 percent lower than April’s revised rate of 489,000 but 3.6 percent above last year’s rate of 442,000. Multi-family completions in May were at a rate of 130,000, 25.7 percent lower than the 175,000 units completed in April but still 34.0 percent higher than the 97,000 completions in May of last year.

Tags: housing starts, single-family homes, multi-family dwellings, building permits, housing completions

Source:
Census Bureau