WASHINGTON — Led by a decline in multifamily production, nationwide housing starts fell 5.5% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.09 million units, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Commerce Department. Multifamily starts fell 9.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 289,000 units while single-family production edged down 3.9% to 794,000.
“Today’s report is consistent with builder sentiment in the housing market, indicating some weakness after a strong start to the year,” said Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas. “Ongoing job growth, rising demand and low mortgage rates should keep the single-family sector moving forward this year, even as builders deal with ongoing shortages of lots and labor.”
“After a strong start for single-family building this year, recent months have recorded softer readings,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “However, on a year-to-date basis, single-family starts are up 7.2% as builders add inventory to the market.”
Regionally in May, combined single- and multifamily housing production rose 1.3% in the West and remained unchanged in the Northeast. Starts fell by 9.2% in the Midwest and 8.8% in the South.
“Overall permit issuance in May was down 4.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.17 million units. Single-family permits inched down 1.9% to 779,000 units while multifamily permits fell 10.4% to 389,000.
Regionally, overall permits rose 3.3% in the Northeast. Permits fell 9.4% in the Midwest, 0.3% in the South and 13.1% in the West.