Friday, May 16, 2008

Housing Starts

Housing starts for the month of April surged 8.2%, to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.032 million. The number blew away expectations, as economists were expecting a number closer to 939,000.

New construction on single-family homes did fall for the month, though, by 1.7%, the lowest level since January 1991. Starts on single-family homes have fallen 30.6% in the last year.

Starts on multi-family homes of 5 units or more units increased a whopping 40.5% in the month and are up 28.9% in the past year.

Regionally, total starts fell by 12.7% in the Northeast. In the Midwest, starts gained 24.4%. Starts also rose 3.6% in the South and 18.5% in the West.

Building permits, an indicator of future construction, also surged in April, gaining 4.9%, to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 978,000. Building permits are down 34.3% in the past year.

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