Housing starts in the U.S. picked up 6.6 percent in April, in a welcome rebound from what was a slow first quarter for new housing construction nationally.
The nearly 7 percent jump in new starts from the previous month was primarily driven by the Midwest region and the multifamily housing sector, in particular. New building permit applications – an indicator of future construction starts – were also up 3.6 percent in April.
Despite interest rates that remain at historic lows and job creation that has continued at a steady pace, newly built home sales had a sluggish first quarter and dropped for the third consecutive month in March, according to the Wall Street Journal.
And there is also concern that new applications for building permits, while on the rise, have lagged behind new housing starts as of late.
But housing starts continue to show strength, with single-family home construction up more than 3 percent in April from the previous month and new multifamily building starts up nearly 11 percent month-on-month.
While housing starts in April were nearly 2 percent below their April 2015 numbers and permits were down more than 5 percent year-on-year, the overall picture over the first four months of 2016 is much rosier.
Overall starts were up more than 10 percent from the first four months of last year, with single-family starts up nearly 17 percent. New multifamily starts, meanwhile, are down more than 2.3 percent from the first four months of last year. [WSJ] – Rey Mashayekhi