June 16, 2011 (Chris Moore)

New residential construction received a boost in May as building permits, housing starts, and housing completions all experienced gains according to the latest data released by the Census Bureau.

Privately owned housing starts increased by 3.5 percent in May, 2011, compared to April with a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 560,000 starts reported in May compared to April’s revised estimate of 541,000 housing starts. Housing starts are still below May of 2010’s rates which were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 580,000.

Single-family housing starts in May increased from April’s figure of 404,000 to 419,000, an increase of 3.7 percent, and multi-family dwellings increased from 114,000 starts in April to 134,000 in May.

Building permits in May were also more robust than April as builders were authorized a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 612,000 permits compared to 563,000 in April. It was also an increase from May of last year, which had an estimated 582,000 permits authorized.

Single-family building permit authorizations were 2.5 percent higher in May than April with 405,000 permits authorized compared to 395,000 in April. Multi-family dwelling permits in May soared to 190,000 authorizations compared to 143,000 in April.

Housing completions experienced a small increase in May compared to April with a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 544,000 completions reported. That was just above April’s 542,000 completions but far below the May 2010 rate of 702,000.

Single-family completions in May were at a rate of 431,000 compared to April’s 419,000. Multi-family completions in May were at a rate of 108,000 completions compared to April’s count of 118,000.

Regionally, housing starts increased in two of the four regions with the Northeast and the Midwest experiencing declines (-3.3% and -4.1%, respectively) and the South and West experiencing gains (1.5% and 18.1%, respectively). All regions experienced declines compared to the same month last year.

Building permits soared in May for multi-family dwellings in the Northeast as permit authorizations increased 35.6 percent. Single-family permits in the same region declined 5.3 percent. The other three regions reported gains in both single-family and multi-family dwelling permits with the exception of the Midwest which saw a slight, 1.1%, decline in multi-family dwelling permit authorizations.

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

Census Bureau