The coronavirus pandemic has impacted a wide range of economic sectors in the U.S., including housing start activity.
Manufacturing, retail and energy, among others, have taken hits amid a decline in demand as a result of the pandemic and subsequent public health measures taken to combat it.
Just like U.S. auto sales, while June housing starts remained down compared with 2019 levels, housing activity rose significantly compared with the previous month.
Census Bureau, HUD: June housing start activity up 17.3% month over month
According to the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. housing starts in June reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,186,000. The June rate marked a 17.3% increase compared with the previous month.
June starts, however, were down 4.0% compared with June 2019 starts.
Meanwhile, single-family housing starts in June hit a rate of 831,000, up 17.2% from the previous month. For units in buildings with five units or more, the June rate hit 350,000.
Housing completions rise
Privately-owned housing completions in June reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,225,000. The June rate marked a 4.3% increase from May and a 5.1% increase from the June 2019 rate.
Single-family housing completions in June were at a rate of 910,000, which marked a 9.6% increase from May. For units in buildings with five units or more, the rate checked in at 311,000.
Pending home sales rise in May
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) late last month reported May pending homes sales jumped 44.3%.
“This has been a spectacular recovery for contract signings, and goes to show the resiliency of American consumers and their evergreen desire for homeownership,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “This bounce back also speaks to how the housing sector could lead the way for a broader economic recovery.”
“More listings are continuously appearing as the economy reopens, helping with inventory choices. Still, more home construction is needed to counter the persistent underproduction of homes over the past decade.”
However, as with other areas of the economy, the recovery’s longevity is a question mark. Rising coronavirus case levels in many parts of the country raise the specter of a return to stricter lockdown measures and, consequently, pressure on economic activity.