Privately-owned housing starts in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 891,000. This is 30.2 percent below the revised March estimate of 1,276,000 and is 29.7 percent below the April 2019 rate of 1,267,000. Single-family housing starts in April were at a rate of 650,000; this is 25.4 percent below the revised March figure of 871,000. The April rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 234,000.
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,074,000. This is 20.8 percent below the revised March rate of 1,356,000 and is 19.2 percent below the April 2019 rate of 1,330,000. Single-family authorizations in April were at a rate of 669,000; this is 24.3 percent below the revised March figure of 884,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 373,000 in April.
Click on graph for larger image.
The first graph shows single and multi-family housing starts for the last several years.
Multi-family starts (red, 2+ units) were down in April compared to March. Multi-family starts were down 40.2% year-over-year in April.
Multi-family is volatile month-to-month, and had been mostly moving sideways the last several years.
Single-family starts (blue) decreased in April, and were down 24.8% year-over-year.
The second graph shows total and single unit starts since 1968.
The second graph shows the huge collapse following the housing bubble, and then eventual recovery (but still historically low).
Total housing starts in April were below expectations, however starts in March were revised up.
Residential construction is considered an essential business, and held up better than some other sectors of the economy, but was still negatively impacted by COVID-19.
I’ll have more later …