April Housing Starts Rise from Previous Month but Fall 2.5% Year Over Year

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According to the latest joint report from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. housing starts in April fell 2.5% compared with April 2018.

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However, April starts ticked up 5.7% from the previous month.

April housing starts reached a seasonally adjusted rate of 1,235,000, up from 1,168,000 in March but down from 1,267,000 in April 2018.

Drilling down further, single‐family housing starts in April came in at a rate of 854,000, marking an increase of 6.2% from the revised March total of 804,000. Meanwhile, the April rate for units in buildings with five units came in at 359,000, the joint report showed.

Privately owned housing completions in April fell 1.4% from the previous month, coming in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,312,000.  The April completions total, however, increased 5.5% on a year-over-year basis (April 2018 completions reached 1,244,000).

Single‐family housing completions in April came in at a rate of 918,000, down 4.1% from the revised March rate of 957,000. Meanwhile, April rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 381,000, up from 364,000 in March.

In terms of housing permits, privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in April hit a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,296,000, up 0.6% from the revised March rate of 1,288,000. However, the April figure marked a 5.0% decline from the April 2018 rate of 1,364,000.

Single‐family authorizations in April reached 782,000, down 4.2% from the revised March figure of 816,000.

Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 467,000 in April, up from 425,000 in March.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), recently delivered his mid-year home sales forecast.

“Home sales should be much stronger based on the economic fundamentals of jobs, interest rates, population and consumer confidence,” Yun was quoted as saying in an NAR release.

Yun added, however, there could be a rise in relocation of people and companies seeking more affordable markets.

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“While affordability has been sliding, it is still better than we saw in the year 2000,” Yun said. “This is due to much lower mortgage interest rates today.”

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