After a chilly February for U.S. housing starts, starts were down again in March.
According to a monthly report released jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, privately owned housing starts in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,139,000. March starts were down 0.3% from the revised February estimate of 1,142,000. Furthermore, March starts were down 14.2% from the March 2018 rate of 1,327,000.
According to the report, single‐family housing starts in March reached 785,000, down 0.4% from February’s 788,000. Meanwhile, the March rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 337,000.
On the other hand, the decline in housing starts moderated significantly from February. February housing starts plunged 8.7% compared with January. Winter weather is always factor to consider when assessing housing starts early in the year; however, it remains to be seen if the recent declines are part of a growing trend, or if starts will pick up as weather conditions become more amenable to construction.
On the other hand, U.S. housing starts increased from February to March in both 2017 and 2018.
Privately‐owned housing units authorized by building permits in March reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,269,000, marking a 1.7% decrease from the revised February rate of 1,291,000. March permits were down 7.8% from the March 2018 rate of 1,377,000.
Single‐family authorizations reached 808,000, down 1.1% from the revised February figure of 817,000. Meanwhile, authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more hit a rate of 425,000 in March.
As for completions, privately‐owned housing completions in March reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,313,000, down 1.9% from the revised February estimate of 1,338,000. However, March proved to be a more productive month on a year-over-year basis, as completions increased 6.8% compared with March 2018’s rate of 1,229,000.
Single‐family housing completions in March reached 938,000, up 11.9% from the revised February rate of 838,000. For units in buildings with five units or more, the March rate reached 364,000.