Privately-owned housing starts in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 974,000. This is 4.3 percent above the revised April estimate of 934,000, but is 23.2 percent below the May 2019 rate of 1,268,000. Single-family housing starts in May were at a rate of 675,000; this is 0.1 percent above the revised April figure of 674,000. The May rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 291,000.
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,220,000. This is 14.4 percent above the revised April rate of 1,066,000, but is 8.8 percent below the May 2019 rate of 1,338,000. Single-family authorizations in May were at a rate of 745,000; this is 11.9 percent above the revised April figure of 666,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 434,000 in May.
The first graph shows single and multi-family housing starts for the last several years.
Multi-family starts (red, 2+ units) were up in May compared to April. Multi-family starts were down 33.1% year-over-year in May.
Single-family starts (blue) increased slightly in May, and were down 17.8% year-over-year.
The second graph shows the huge collapse following the housing bubble, and then eventual recovery (but still historically low).
Total housing starts in May were well below expectations, and starts in April were revised down.
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 …