Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

US housing starts fell 2.6 percent in April

Construction workers build a single family home in San Diego California   Thomson Reuters Construction workers build a single family home in San Diego California Thomson Reuters
Orlando Vargas | 17 May, 2017, 14:47

USA homebuilding unexpectedly fell in April amid a persistent decline in the construction of multifamily housing units and a modest rebound in single-family projects, pointing to a slowdown in the housing market recovery.

US housing starts decreased 2.6% in April from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.172 million, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Single-family housing starts increased 0.4 percent from March to 835,000.

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,229,000. However, this represents an increase of 15.1% from last year's 961,000. Those gains offset a 41.1 percent rise in the Midwest and a 5.4 percent increase in the West.

Demand for housing remains underpinned by a tightening labor market, characterized by an unemployment rate at a 10-year low of 4.4 percent.

Home Depot and smaller rival Lowe's Cos Inc have remained a bright spot in the retail sector as a firming economy and higher wages drive new home sales and a rise in the value of existing houses spurs remodeling activity.

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On Monday, the National Association of Home Builders released a report showing homebuilder confidence has unexpectedly improved in the month of May.

Starts in the Northeast fell 37.3% overall and single-family starts were down 29.2% from March to a rate of 79,000 and 46,000, respectively. Economists are looking for housing to continue to support overall growth for the rest of the year.

Privately owned housing starts decreased in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.17 million starts.

Data on housing starts tend to be volatile from month to month and can be subject to sharp revisions. Single-family permits decreased 4.5 percent from March to 789,000.

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