New home construction is up sharply over the past year,
according to government figures released today, a sign that the
beleaguered housing market may finally be pulling out of its
Both construction starts and building permits issued for
single-family homes are up nearly 19 percent from their level of
one year ago, according to April figures released today by the
Census Bureau. Building activity for apartment buildings and other
multiunit homes is up even more, with construction starts of
residential buildings of five or more units up 75 percent from
their April 2011 level.
Single-family housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted level
of 492,000 units in April, a 2.8 percent increase over the revised
March figure of 481,000 and well above the April 2011 estimate of
414,000. Building permits issued for single-family homes were at an
annual rate of 475,000 units, up 1.9 percent from the revised March
figure of 466,000 units, and from 401,000 units in April 2011.
Bigger swings were seen in the multiunit sector, which tends to
be far more volatile. Construction starts on multi-unit structures
of five or more units were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of
217,000 residences, a 4.3 percent increase over the March level of
208,000 and a big jump from the estimated rate of 124,000 units
reported for April 2011.
Building permits issued for multiunit residential structures
were at an annual rate of 217,000 in April, a 40 percent increase
from the rate of 155,000 units reported 12 months before, but down
22.8 percent from the rate of 281,000 units reported for March,
when permit activity spiked sharply.
Monthly housing figures from the Census Bureau often fluctuate
from month to month, and the Bureau cautions that it may take
several months for trends to be established. That being said, both
construction starts and building permits for single-family homes
have been posting large annual gains each month since last fall,
suggesting that a recovery in single-family home construction is
Growth in multiunit home construction has been even stronger,
driven in large part by increased demand for rentals as increasing
numbers of households are either unable or unwilling to purchase
homes in the slow economy.
First published on MortgageLoan.com at: