April housing rates rise

The National Association of Home Builders has reported on new figures from the U.S. Census Bureau and HUD, which show nationwide housing production gains of 2.6 percent from an upwardly revised pace in March to hit a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 717,000 units in April. This modest gain was seen in both the single- and multifamily sectors, which registered growth of 2.3 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively.

The 2.6 percent gain in housing production this April was due to a 2.3 percent increase on the single-family side to a seasonally adjusted, annual rate of 492,000 units and a 3.2 percent increase on the multifamily side to a 225,000-unit rate.

Regionally, starts were mixed in April, with the Midwest and South posting gains of 6.7 percent and 11.6 percent, respectively, and the Northeast and West posting respective declines of 20.7 percent and 8.1 percent.

Permit issuance, which can be an indicator of future building activity, fell 7.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 715,000 units in April following an unsustainably large gain in the previous month. The decline was entirely on the multifamily side, where permits fell 20.8 percent to a 240,000-unit rate. Single-family permits gained 1.9 percent to 475,000 units.

Regionally in April, permit activity held unchanged in the Northeast while declining 12.3 percent in the Midwest, 3.2 percent in the South and 13.9 percent in the West, respectively.