Housing starts post sharp month-over-month loss in April

May 16, 2013 03:30PM

Housing starts in April dropped 16.5 percent month-over-month to 853,000, according to seasonally adjusted numbers released today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Year-over-year, housing starts rose 13.1 percent.

Structures with five units or more had the largest month-over-month loss of 37.8 percent, which fueled the month’s decline. Single-family starts, on the other hand, only had a 2.1 percent month-over-month slip to a rate of 610,000.

Separated by region, the South saw the largest month-over-month decline in housing starts — a loss of 27.9 percent. The Midwest — on the opposite end of the spectrum — gained 10.9 percent during the month-long period.

Overall building permits, which economists view as a sign of builder confidence, rose 14.3 percent month-over-month and 35.8 percent year-over-year to a rate of 1,017,000. This is the first time the number crossed 1 million permit threshold in almost five years, CNN noted.

Builder confidence rose in May following several months of declines, with builders noticing urgency among buyers in a time of low inventory and low mortgage rates, as reported yesterday. [CNN]Zachary Kussin