Housing Starts Rebound in April, Far Above Last Year’s Levels

May 17, 2012 (Chris Moore)

Housing starts rebounded in April after two months of declines as both single-family and multi-family housing starts enjoyed solid increases for the month and were substantially higher than the same month last year according to the latest data released by the Census Bureau.

Filings for building permits declined for the month as a sharp drop in multifamily authorizations more than compensated for a modest gain in single-family permits. Overall, permits were still substantially higher than last year.

Housing Starts:

Privately owned housing starts increased by 2.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 717,000 in April from a revised estimate of 699,000 in March. Housing starts were 29.9 percent higher than in April 2011 which had an estimated 552,000 starts.

Single-family housing starts improved in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 492,000, up 2.6 percent from a revised estimate of 481,000 starts in March and up 18.8 percent from April of last year which reported an estimated 414,000 starts.

Housing starts for multi-family dwellings increased 4.3 percent from a revised rate of 208,000 starts in March to a seasonally adjusted rate of 217,000 starts in April. Housing starts for multi-family dwellings were a whopping 75.0 percent higher than a year ago when an estimated 124,000 starts were recorded.

Regionally, monthly housing starts increased in two of the four regions with the South posting the largest increase of 11.6 percent, followed by the Midwest at 6.7 percent. The Northeast posted the largest decline of 20.7 percent, while the West fell 8.1 percent below the previous month.

Compared to a year ago, all four of the regions posted substantial increases in housing starts with the South posting the largest increase of 38.5 percent, followed by the Midwest and the Northeast at 22.3 and 19.0 percent, respectively, while the West reported an increase of 13.3 percent.

Building Permits:

The number of building permits issued in April fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 715,000, down 7.0 percent from a revised estimate of 769,000 permits in March. Authorized building permits were still 23.7 percent higher than the April 2011 estimate of 578,000.

Single-family building permit authorizations were 1.9 percent higher in April than March with 475,000 permits authorized in April compared to a revised 466,000 in March. Building permit authorizations for single-family homes were 18.5 percent higher than in April of last year which had an estimated 401,000 permits issued.

Multi-family dwelling permits in April fell to 217,000 authorizations from a revised total of 281,000 in March, a decline of 22.8 percent. Authorizations for multi-family dwellings were still 40.0 percent higher than in April of last year which had an estimated 155,000 authorizations.

Building permit authorizations fell in three of the four regions in April compared to March. In the West, authorizations fell 13.9 percent followed by a 12.3 percent decline in the Midwest while the South recorded a modest decline of 3.2 percent. In the Northeast, building permit authorizations were unchanged from the previous month.

Year-over-year, building permit authorizations increased in all four regions with the Northeast posting the largest increase of 32.8 percent, followed by the West which posted a 29.8 percent increase and South and the Midwest saw gains of 21.3 and 17.5 percent, respectively.

Housing Completions:

Housing completions increased by 10.0 percent in April compared to March with a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 651,000 completions reported in April compared to March’s revised estimate of 592,000 completions. Housing completions were 20.1 percent higher than in April of last year when an estimated 542,000 completions were reported.

Single-family completions in April were at a rate of 489,000, which was 11.4 percent higher than March’s revised rate of 439,000 and 14.3 percent above last year’s rate of 428,000. Multi-family completions in April were at a rate of 158,000, 11.3 percent higher than the 142,000 units completed in March and 61.2 percent higher than the 98,000 completions in April of last year.

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

Source:
Census Bureau