Housing Starts Fall in May after Strong Gains in April

Housing starts in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.036 million, 11.1 percent below the revised April estimate of 1.165 million, but 5.1 percent above the May 2014 estimate of 986,000. Single family housing starts were at a rate of 680,000, 5.4 percent below the revised April rate of 719,000. Starts for multi-family units grew at a rate of 349,000, 18.5 percent below the revised April estimate.

Housing starts fell across all four regions, most dramatically in the Northeast, dropping 26.5 percent to 139,000. The West fell 12.5 percent to 253,000, the Midwest fell 10.2 percent to 149,000 and South fell 5 percent to 495,000.

Building permits were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.275 million, up 11.8 percent from April’s revised rate of 1.140 million, and 25.4 percent above the May 2014 rate of 1.017 million. Permits for single family units were at a rate of 683,000, 2.6 percent above April’s revised estimate of 666,000. Multi-family permits were at a rate of 557,000.

Housing completions in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.034 million, 4.7 percent above April’s revised estimate of 988,000 and 14.5 percent above the May 2014 rate. Single family housing completions were at a rate of 635,000, 5.2 percent above April’s rate, and multi-family completions were at a rate of 392,000.