Housing starts in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.172 million, an increase of 6.6% compared with the revised March estimate of 1.099 million but a decrease of 1.7% compared with the April 2015 rate of 1.192 million, 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 a rate of about 778,000, an increase of 3.3% compared with the revised March estimate of 753,000.
Starts of multifamily units (five units or more per building) were at an annual rate of about 373,000, an increase of 10.7% compared with the March rate of 337,000.
Total housing starts increased 22.2% in the Midwest and increased 14.1% in the South. This was offset by a decrease of 7.6% in the Northeast and a decrease of about 10% in the West.
Building permits in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.116 million, an increase of 3.6% compared with the revised March rate of 1.077 million but a decrease of 5.3% compared with April 2015.
Permits for single-family homes were at a rate of 736,000, an increase of 1.5% compared with the revised March figure of 725,000. Permits for multifamily units were at a rate of 348,000 in April – an increase of 9.4% compared with about 318,000 in March.
Housing completions in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 933,000, a decrease of 11.0% compared with the March estimate of 1.048 million and a decrease of 7.4% compared with the April 2015 rate of 1.008 million.
Completions of single-family homes were at a rate of 691,000, a decrease of 3.6% compared with the revised March rate of 717,000. Permits for multifamily dwellings were at a rate of about 232,000, a decrease of 27.7% compared with the March rate of about 321,000.
“This month’s modest rise in housing production is consistent with builder sentiment, which has remained steady and in positive territory in recent months,” says Ed Brady, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), in a statement.
“Though housing construction data is relatively flat for the beginning of 2016, we anticipate a ramping-up of housing production during the rest of the year, given a strengthening job market, low mortgage interest rates and favorable demographics,” adds Robert Dietz, chief economist for NAHB.