Last Update: 21-May-19 13:10 ET
- Housing starts increased 5.7% m/m in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.235 million (Briefing.com consensus 1.200 mln), led by a 6.2% increase in single-unit starts.
- Building permits rose 0.6% m/m to 1.296 million (Briefing.com consensus 1.280 mln), although permits for single-unit dwellings declined 4.2%.
The uptick in April housing starts was driven by the Northeast (+84.6%) and Midwest (+42.0%) regions, yet the nation's two largest regions -- the South (-5.7%) and West (-5.5%) -- both saw a drop in total starts.
- Building permits for single-unit dwellings were down in all regions -- Northeast (-7.5%), South (-8.8%), and West (-0.5%) -- with the exception of the Midwest (+11.8%).
- The number of units under construction at the end of the period totaled 1.121 million, down 0.9% m/m and down 0.4% yr/yr. That is 2.4% below the first quarter average, which will be a negative input for Q2 GDP forecasts.
- The key takeaway from the report, however, is that there hasn't been any acceleration in building activity. Total housing starts are down 2.5% yr/yr and single-unit starts are down 4.3% yr/yr.