Housing starts took a nice jump in April, rising to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.135 million units – an increase of 20.2% compared to a revised March estimate of 944,000 units and 9.2% above the April 2014 rate of 1.039 million units, according to figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Starts of single-family homes in April were at an annual rate of about 733,000 – an increase of 16.7% compared to the revised March figure of about 628,000 units.
Starts of multifamily units reached an annual rate of about 389,000, up 31.9% from about 295,000 in March.
Building permits in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 1.143 million, an increase of 10.1% compared to the revised March rate of 1.038 million and 6.4% above the April 2014 estimate of 1.074 million.
Permits for single-family homes in April were at a rate of about 666,000 – an increase of 3.7% compared to the revised March figure of about 642,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of about 444,000, up 20% from about 370,000 in March.
Housing completions in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 986,000 units, an increase of 20.4% compared to the revised March estimate of about 819,000 units and 19.4% above the April 2014 rate of about 826,000 units.
Single-family housing completions in April were at a rate of about 688,000, an increase of 14.5% compared to the revised March rate of about 601,000. The April rate for units in buildings with five units or more was about 288,000.
The increase in production is welcome news to the housing and mortgage banking industries, as increased inventory should help satiate pent-up consumer demand for new housing.
In a release, the North American Home Builders Association (NAHB) points out that the increase in April brought housing starts to the highest level since November 2007.
‘Our builders tell us that consumers are slowly returning to the market,’ says Tom Woods, chairman of NAHB, in a statement. ‘This month's report shows release of pent-up demand and evidence of a sustainable housing recovery.’
‘The April gains make up for the production dips we saw in the past two months, but single-family housing is still only about halfway back to what could be considered a normal market,’ adds David Crowe, chief economist for NAHB. ‘With low interest rates and affordable home prices, we expect more upward momentum in the months ahead.’
Regionally, the Northeast, South and West saw permits rise 38.8%, 9.9% and 3%, respectively, while permits dipped 1.3% in the Midwest.