Housing starts were at an annual rate of about 1.036 million units in May – a decrease of 11.1% compared to the revised April estimate of 1.165 million units but 5.1% above the May 2014 rate of 986,000 units, according to figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Starts of single-family homes were at an annual rate of about 680,000 units, a decrease of 5.4% compared to the revised April rate of about 719,000 units.
Starts of multifamily dwellings (five units or more per structure) were at an annual rate of about 349,000 units, a decrease of 18.5% compared to an annual rate of about 428,000 units in April.
Meanwhile, building permits for privately owned housing in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.275 million, an increase of 11.8% compared to the revised April rate of 1.140 million and 25.4% above the May 2014 estimate of 1.017 million.
Permits for single-family homes were at a rate of about 683,000 units, an increase of 2.6% compared to the revised April figure of 666,000 units. Permits for multifamily dwellings were at a rate of 557,000 units in May.
Housing completions were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.034 million units, an increase of about 4.7% compared to the April estimate of 988,000 units and 14.5% above the May 2014 rate of 903,000 units.
About 635,000 single-family homes were completed in May – a decrease of 5.2% compared to the revised April rate of 670,000 units.
About 392,000 multifamily units were completed in May – an increase of 28.1% compared to April's 306,000 units.
‘The uptick in permits shows our builders are optimistic that more consumers are returning to the housing market,’ says Tom Woods, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), in a statement. ‘Even with this month's dip in production, it should be a solid year for home building.’
‘After a strong April, some readjustment in housing production in May was expected,’ adds David Crowe, chief economist for NAHB. ‘The starts and permits figures for the second quarter of 2015 are shaping up to be stronger than the first. This upward trajectory is in line with the recently released NAHB/Wells Fargo HMI, which found growing builder confidence in the market.’
Regionally, the Northeast and Midwest posted permit gains of 77.7% and 16.3%, respectively. The South fell 3.6%, and the West fell 1.9%.