Nationwide housing production fell 9.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 893,000 units in June, according to newly released figures from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. The drop was due primarily to a nearly 30 percent decline in the South. All other regions posted monthly gains.
"A modest 2.6 percent increase in single-family permits falls in line with the general optimism that we are hearing from our builders," said Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del.
Single-family housing starts were down nine percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 575,000 units in June, while multifamily production fell 9.9 percent to 318,000 units.
Regionally in June, combined single- and multifamily housing production rose in the Northeast, the Midwest and the West, with respective gains of 14.1 percent, 28.1 percent and 2.6 percent. Total production fell by 29.6 percent in the South, the nation's largest region.
"Take away the South and nationwide housing starts would have been in positive territory this month," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "This sharp regional decline could be due in part to lots and labor shortages, which are particularly acute in that part of the country. However, the general direction of housing production is trending upward, and we expect 2014 to be a positive year."
Issuance of building permits registered a 4.2 percent decline to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 963,000 units in June. Multifamily permits dropped 14.9 percent to 332,000 units while single-family permits increased 2.6 percent to 631,000 units.
The Northeast, South and West registered overall permit losses of 15.5 percent, 6.3 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively, while the Midwest posted a 6.6 percent gain.