June Housing Starts Down

MBA NewsLink Staff

July 18, 2019

Privately owned housing starts in June fell by nearly 1 percent for the second straight month, HUD and the Census Bureau reported yesterday.

The report said June housing starts came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.253 million, down by 0.9 percent from May's revised 1.265 million, but 6.2 percent higher than a year ago (1.18 million). Single‐family starts came in at 847,000; 3.5 percent higher than the revised May figure of 818,000. The June rate for units in buildings with five units or more fell to 396,000, down by 9.4 percent from May but up by 25.4 percent from a year ago.

Regionally, declines in the South and West more than offset gains in the Northeast and Midwest. In the South, starts fell by 9.2 percent in June, seasonally annually adjusted, to 635,000 units from 699,000 units in May but improved by 12 percent from a year ago. In the West, starts fell by 4.9 percent in Junte to 312,000 units from 328,000 units in May and fell by nearly 10 percent from a year ago.

In the Midwest, starts rose by 27.1 percent to 197,000 units, seasonally annually adjusted, in June from 155,000 units in May and improved by 20.1 percent from a year ago. In the Northeast, starts rose by 31.3 percent in June 10 109,000 units in June from 83,000 units in May and improved by nearly 5 percent from a year ago.

"New residential construction continues to be fairly sluggish," said Mark Vitner, Senior Economist with Wells Fargo Securities, Charlotte, N.C. "On a year-to-date basis, total starts are still running 3.7% below last year's pace. Builders have contended with several weather-related challenges this year, which likely caused delays and depressed overall activity."

Vitner said lenders can expect a slow and steady improvement in residential construction for the remainder of the year. "Builders steadily regaining confidence also points to further improvements in coming months," he said.

The report said privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in June fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.220 million, 6.1 percent below the revised May rate of 1.299 million and 6.6 percent below a year ago (1.306 million). Single‐family authorizations in June rose to 813,000; 0.4 percent higher than May (810,000). Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more fell to 360,000 in June, down by nearly 21 percent from May and down by 13.3 percent from a year ago.

HUD/Census said privately owned housing completions in June fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.161 million, 4.8 percent than May (1.220 million) and 3.7 percent lower than a year ago (1.205 million). Single‐family housing completions in June fell to 870,000; 1.8 percent lower than May (886,000). The June rate for units in buildings with five units or more fell to 283,000, down by 14 percent in May and down by 17.3 percent from a year ago.

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