Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

United States housing starts fall in March, permits rise

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Nellie Chapman | 19 April, 2017, 01:51

Pointing to underlying strength in the housing market, building permits increased 3.6 percent, driven by a 13.8 percent surge in the multi-family segment.

Single-family housing starts in March were at a rate of 821,000; this is 6.2% below the revised February figure of 875,000.

"Much warmer-than-usual weather in the first two months of the year pulled starts forward into those months, and March - with more normal temperatures - saw the payback with declines in both single- and multifamily construction", said David Berson, chief economist at Nationwide Mutual Insurance.

Permits for new single-family homes fell 1.1% month over month in March, to an adjusted annual rate of 823,000, from a revised total of 832,000 in February. Permits for units in buildings with five units or more came in at 401,000.

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. builders broke ground on fewer homes in March, but the pace of construction so far this year remains stronger than in 2016. "Millennial household formation is beginning to have meaningful impact on housing demand and will likely only increase". Permits in March grew 3.6 percent to 1.26 million from February's 1.216 million, and grew year-over-year by 17 percent.

"Today's numbers are aligned with our builder confidence metric, which contracted slightly this month but is on solid footing overall", said Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas. "Since this one-time event reduced the number of construction projects in the pipeline, we hope this will translate into more starts in the coming months". The index has been above 60 since September. Permits in the first three months of 2017 rose 10.4% from a year earlier. This is a decrease of 6.8% from February's 1.3 million, but is still 9.2% above last year's 1.11 million.