by Bill McBride on 4/16/2013
From the Census Bureau: Permits, Starts and Completions
Privately-owned housing starts in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,036,000. This is 7.0 percent above the revised February estimate of 968,000 and is 46.7 percent above the March 2012 rate of 706,000.
Single-family housing starts in March were at a rate of 619,000; this is 4.8 percent below the revised February figure of 650,000. The March rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 392,000.
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 902,000. This is 3.9 percent below the revised February rate of 939,000, but is 17.3 percent above the March 2012 estimate of 769,000.
Single-family authorizations in March were at a rate of 595,000; this is 0.5 percent below the revised February figure of 598,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 283,000 in March.
The first graph shows single and multi-family housing starts for the last several years.
Multi-family starts (red, 2+ units) increased sharply in March.
Single-family starts (blue) declined to 619,000 in March (Note: February was revised up sharply from 618 thousand to 650 thousand).
The second graph shows total and single unit starts since 1968.
This was well above expectations of 930 thousand starts in March, mostly due to the sharp increase in multi-family starts – and the highest level since June 2008. Starts in March were up 46.7% from March 2012; single family starts were up 28.7% year-over-year. Starts in February were revised up sharply. I’ll have more later, but this was a strong report.