While builder confidence in the market for new residential construction improved in March, it remained flat in April and residential construction numbers showed a decline in momentum as well. Residential construction starts, which had surged in February, gave back all of those gains in March. The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) report that construction began at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.321 million housing units during the month, a decline of 14.7 percent from February’s level of 1.549 million units. Starts were 4.3 percent lower than their level in March 2023. Single-family starts fell 12.4 percent to an annual rate of 1.022 million and multifamily starts dived 20.8 percent to 290,000 units. The two categories were down 21.2 percent and 43.7 percent respectively year-over-year. Permits also declined. The annual rate was 4.3 percent lower at 1.458 million units compared to 1.523 million in February. Permits increased 1.5 percent on an annual basis. Single-family authorizations dropped from 1.032 million to 973,000, a 5.7 percent decline. This was still a 17.4 percent improvement from March of last year. Multifamily permits were unchanged at 433,000 units, down 22.1 percent year-over-year. Analysts polled by Econoday had forecast starts at 1,480 million and permits at 1.510 million, substantially overshooting both numbers. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) said the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) broke a four-month string of gains this month, remaining at the 51 level, unchanged from March, but still above the key breakeven point of 50.
Source: Mortgage News Daily