Thursday, April 16, 2020

Housing Starts decreased to 1.216 Million Annual Rate in March

by Calculated Risk on 4/16/2020 08:47:00 AM

From the Census Bureau: Permits, Starts and Completions

Housing Starts:
Privately‐owned housing starts in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,216,000. This is 22.3 percent below the revised February estimate of 1,564,000, but is 1.4 percent above the March 2019 rate of 1,199,000. Single‐family housing starts in March were at a rate of 856,000; this is 17.5 percent below the revised February figure of 1,037,000. The March rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 347,000.

Building Permits:
Privately‐owned housing units authorized by building permits in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,353,000. This is 6.8 percent below the revised February rate of 1,452,000, but is 5.0 percent above the March 2019 rate of 1,288,000. Single‐family authorizations in March were at a rate of 884,000; this is 12.0 percent below the revised February figure of 1,005,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 423,000 in March.
emphasis added
Total Housing Starts and Single Family Housing Starts 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 March compared to February.   Multi-family starts were down 1.6% year-over-year in March.

Multi-family is volatile month-to-month, and  had been mostly moving sideways the last several years.

Single-family starts (blue) decreased in March, and were up 2.8% year-over-year.

Total Housing Starts and Single Family Housing Starts 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 March were below expectations and revisions were negative.

Residential construction is considered an essential business, and might hold up better than some other sectors of the economy - but will still be negatively impacted by COVID-19.

I'll have more later …