New Housing Construction Jumps Nearly 3% in March

Paul Ausick

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development reported Wednesday morning that new housing starts in March rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 946,000. That was an increase of 2.8% from the upwardly revised February rate of 920,000 and a drop of 5.9% compared with the March 2013 rate of 1 million. The consensus estimate from a survey of economists expected a rate of around 965,000.

The seasonally adjusted rate of new building permits fell to 990,000, which is 2.4% below the downwardly revised February rate of 1.01 million but 11.2% higher than the March 2013 rate of 890,000. The consensus estimate called for 1.01 million new permits.

Single-family housing starts rose to an annualized rate of 635,000 in March, up 6% from the revised February rate of 599,000.

Permits for new single-family homes rose 0.5% in March, to an adjusted annual rate of 592,000, from an upwardly revised total of 589,000 in February.

The number of housing starts for February was revised upward, from an original estimate of 909,000 to 920,000. That makes the March showing look even better. Multifamily starts for buildings with two to four units, a more volatile number than single-family starts, decreased 8% in March. The multifamily starts for units of five or more was up 39.1% compared with March 2013.

READ ALSO: Mortgage Rates Down, Applications Up Last Week