US housing starts dipped last month

Apartment construction was particularly slow, Commerce Department says

Aug.August 16, 2017 10:22 AM

Construction at 28-18 Astoria Boulevard

Housing starts across the United States fell last month, a slowdown that was driven by a drop in apartment construction, according to data released by the U.S. Commerce Department.

Residential starts declined almost 5 percent to an annualized rate of 1.16, Bloomberg reported. Starts on multifamily homes dropped just over 15 percent, and single-family starts fell by 0.5 percent.

Meanwhile, permits, which indicates future construction, fell 4 percent. Groundbreaking on single family homes has declined in four of the past five months, according to the publication, and single-family homebuilding is being hampered by labor and lot shortages.

“Single-family starts have not risen nearly as much as builder confidence has, reflecting the greater difficulty builders are having obtaining lots and labor relative to past cycles,” Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC, wrote in a research note before the report, according to Bloomberg.

In New York City, the pace of residential permit approvals dropped this spring. Between March and May, the city’s Department of Buildings issued permits for 4,891 units. That rate is lower than the start of 2017, but an increase from the same period last year. [Bloomberg]Miriam Hall

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