Sluggish Movement on Housing Starts
Single-family housing starts in April were at a rate of 835,000, which is 0.4 percent above the revised March figure of 832,000, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Privately-owned housing starts in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,172,000, which is 2.6 percent below the revised March estimate of 1,203,000 but is 0.7 percent higher than the April 2016 rate of 1,164,000.
Single-family authorizations in April were at a rate of 789,000, which is 4.5 percent below the revised March figure of 826,000. Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,229,000, which is 2.5 percent below the revised March rate of 1,260,000, but is 5.7 percent above the April 2016 rate of 1,163,000.
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), expressed concern that April’s data will reflect poorly on long-term planning.
“With housing starts declining in April, inventory shortages will continue for a longer period of time,” Yun said. “The intensifying housing shortage will push up home prices and rents, and easily above wage growth and the broad consumer price inflation. This continued, slow pace of construction of new homes is a major bottleneck to a faster economic and housing recovery.”