Last Update: 17-Apr-14 18:13 ET
- Housing starts increased 2.4% in March to 946,000 from an upwardly revised 920,000 in February. The Briefing.com consensus expected 955,000 new starts.
- Overall, the residential construction report was encouraging, but it did not provide any evidence that the weakness in January and February was weather related. Starts remained well below 1.00 mln, which was the average in the fourth quarter. If weather was a factor, then there should have been a much stronger bounce from delayed starts.
- Single-family construction, which languished below 600,000 in January and February, rebounded 6.0% to 635,000. That is more in-line with the trends over the last 12 months.
- Multifamily starts fell 3.1% to 311,000 in March from 321,000 in February. That was a typical decline from a normally volatile sector.
- The number of homes currently under construction, which factor into GDP, increased a modest 0.4% to 719,000. The effect on GDP will likely be minimal. Single-family construction, which provides the bulk of residential investment, increased to 335,000 from 334,000. Multifamily construction increased 0.5% to 384,000.
- Building permits dropped 2.4% to 990,000 in March from 1.014 mln in February. Permit issuances have averaged 972,000 over the last 12 months.
- The spike in construction levels in Q4 2013 do not seem to be sustainable.