Single-family gains helped offset a drop in multifamily production as total housing starts edged 0.9 percent 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 percent to 847,000 units. The multifamily sector, which includes apartment buildings and condos, fell 9.2 percent 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 Greg Ugalde, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and 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 percent in the Northeast, and 27.1 percent in the Midwest. Starts declined 9.2 percent in the South and 4.9 percent in the West.
Overall permits, which are a harbinger of future housing production, fell 6.1 percent to a 1.22 million unit annualized rate in June. Single-family permits edged 0.4 percent higher to 813,000 while multifamily permits fell 16.8 percent to 407,000.
Looking at regional permit data, permits rose 21.9 percent in the Northeast. Permits fell 10.4 percent in the South, 7.9 percent in the West and 0.6 percent in the Midwest.