The latest housing market news offered some disappointment in regard to housing starts and the builders creating these new residences.
Single-family housing starts in March were at a rate of 867,000, a 3.7 percent drop from the revised February figure of 900,000
, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. However, privately-owned housing starts in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,319,000, which is 1.9 percent higher than the revised February estimate
of 1,295,000 and is 10.9 percent higher than the March 2017 rate of 1,189,000.
Single-family authorizations in March were at a rate of 840,000, a 5.5 percent slip from the revised February figure of 889,000. But privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,354,000, which is 2.5 percent above the revised February rate of 1,321,000 and also 7.5 percent above the March 2017 rate of 1,260,000.
Single-family housing completions in March were at a rate of 840,000, a 4.7 percent downturn from the revised February rate of 881,000. Privately-owned housing completions in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,217,000, a 5.1 percent descent from the revised February estimate of 1,282,000, but a 1.9 percent uptick from the March 2017 rate of 1,194,000.
Among the HMI components, the index measuring buyer traffic held steady at 51, while the index charting sales expectations in the next six months fell a single point to 77 and the component gauging current sales conditions dropped two points to 75. On the regional HMI scores, the South remained unchanged at 73, the Northeast fell one point to 55, the Midwest declined two points to 66 and the West dropped three points to 76.
“Strong demand for housing is keeping builders optimistic about future market conditions,” said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel, a custom home builder from LaPlace, La. “However, builders are facing supply-side constraints, such as a lack of buildable lots and increasing construction material costs. Tariffs placed on Canadian lumber and other imported products are pushing up prices and hurting housing affordability.”