Single-family gains helped offset a drop in multifamily production as total housing starts edged 0.9% lower in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.25 million units, according to a report from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development and Commerce Department.
The June reading of 1.25 million starts is the number of housing units builders would begin if they kept this pace for the next 12 months. Within this overall number, single-family starts increased 3.5% to 847,000 units. The multifamily sector, which includes apartment buildings and condos, fell 9.2% to a 406,000 pace.
"The monthly pick up from May to June in single-family starts is in line with the slight rise in our latest builder confidence survey, as demand remains solid due to a healthy job market," said NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde, a home builder and developer from Torrington, Conn.
"The relatively flat housing starts data in June is due to a decline in multifamily production, which still remains somewhat elevated due to affordability concerns in the for-sale market," said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. "The Census data show that the only region showing single-family construction gains for the first half of 2019 is the South, where housing is generally more affordable relative to incomes."
Regionally, combined single-family and multifamily starts in June rose 31.3% in the Northeast, and 27.1% in the Midwest. Starts declined 9.2% in the South and 4.9% in the West.
Overall permits, which are a harbinger of future housing production, fell 6.1% to a 1.22 million unit annualized rate in June. Single-family permits edged 0.4% higher to 813,000 while multifamily permits fell 16.8% to 407,000.
Looking at regional permit data, permits rose 21.9% in the Northeast. Permits fell 10.4% in the South, 7.9% in the West and 0.6% in the Midwest.