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Housing Starts U.S. Economic Indicators



U.S. housing starts jumped in May by 4.3 % on the seasonally adjusted basis to annual rate of 974,000 units, an increase of 40,000 units from 934,000 in April, reported by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. With housing starts rising across the board, growth became evident in multi-family housing as well, as in construction of single-family homes, while overall housing starts in midwest declined.

The government cautions that its monthly housing data are volatile and subject to large sampling and other statistical errors. In most months, the government can't be sure whether starts increased or decreased.



Housing Starts

  M/M Y/Y
  Northeast 12.77% -27.40%
  Midwest -1.48% -16.88%
  South -15.96% -31.96%
  West 69.78% -6.93%
  Single-family 0.15% -17.68%
  2 - 4 units -27.27% -38.46%
  5 or more units 16.87% -33.26%


Permits have rebounded from decline in previous period, permits grew in double digits by 14.4 % or 154,000 units to an annual rate of 974,000 units, from 934,000 in April on the seasonally adjusted basis Most of growth took place in the Northeast and it was concentrated in multi-dwelling buildings such as apartments.

New permits went up 82.0 % to annual rate of 479,000 units in the Northeast while permits for multi-family units grew 18.8 % accounting for 30.7 % of total permits issued.

Permits give an indication of whether demand for new homes is growing or slowing.Building permits dropped by -5.7 % from May 2019

Housing starts dropped by -23.2 % from May 2019, as housing starts in the South fell the most, by -32.0 %.


Permits By Region
  • In Northeast housing units were authorized at seasonally adjusted annual rate of 111,000 units, an increase of 50,000 units, or 81.97 % from 61,000 units April 2020 and an increase of 20.65 % from 92,000 units May 2019.


  • In Midwest housing units were authorized at seasonally adjusted annual rate of 167,000 units, an increase of 26,000 units, or 18.44 % from 141,000 units April 2020 and an decrease of -4.02 % from 174,000 units May 2019.


  • In West housing units were authorized at seasonally adjusted annual rate of 283,000 units, an increase of 31,000 units, or 12.30 % from 252,000 units April 2020 and an decrease of -15.52 % from 335,000 units May 2019.
  • In South housing units were authorized at seasonally adjusted annual rate of 659,000 units, an increase of 47,000 units, or 7.68 % from 612,000 units April 2020 and an decrease of -4.91 % from 693,000 units May 2019.

New Housing Units Authorized
(Seasonally adj., at Annual Rate, units), units)
May 2020

prel.
April 2020

prel.
March 2020

prel.
Feb. 2020

prel.
Jan. 2020

prel.
Total
1,220,000 1,066,000 1,353,000 1,452,000 1,551,000
In structures Single-family units
745,000 666,000 884,000 1,005,000 987,000
In structures with 2 - 4 units
41,000 33,000 46,000 45,000 42,000
In structures with 5 units or more
434,000 367,000 423,000 402,000 522,000
Northeast
111,000 61,000 122,000 132,000 183,000
Midwest
167,000 141,000 178,000 204,000 225,000
South
659,000 612,000 712,000 735,000 745,000
West
283,000 252,000 341,000 381,000 398,000



New Housing Units Authorized
(Seasonally adj., at Annual Rate, units), in M / M)
May 2020
prel.
April 2020
prel.
March 2020
prel.
Feb. 2020
prel.
Jan. 2020
prel.
Total 14.45 % -21.21 % -6.82 % -6.38 % 9.53 %
In structures Single-family units 11.86 % -24.66 % -12.04 % 1.82 % 7.75 %
In structures with 2 - 4 units 24.24 % -28.26 % 2.22 % 7.14 % 0 %
In structures with 5 units or more 18.26 % -13.24 % 5.22 % -22.99 % 13.97 %
Northeast 81.97 % -50 % -7.58 % -27.87 % 36.57 %
Midwest 18.44 % -20.79 % -12.75 % -9.33 % 8.7 %
South 7.68 % -14.04 % -3.13 % -1.34 % 8.28 %
West 12.3 % -26.1 % -10.5 % -4.27 % 2.84 %



New Housing Units Authorized
(Seasonally adj., at Annual Rate, units), in % Y/Y)
May 2020
prel.
April 2020
prel.
March 2020
prel.
Feb. 2020
prel.
Jan. 2020
prel.
Total -5.72 % -17.75 % 6.62 % 12.04 % 17.77 %
In structures Single-family units -8.59 % -14.83 % 9.41 % 22.41 % 20.22 %
In structures with 2 - 4 units 10.81 % -29.79 % 27.78 % 25 % -4.55 %
In structures with 5 units or more -1.81 % -21.41 % -0.47 % -8.43 % 15.49 %
Northeast 20.65 % -49.17 % 0 % -3.65 % 35.56 %
Midwest -4.02 % -25 % -3.78 % 8.51 % 20.97 %
South -4.91 % -5.7 % 10.56 % 7.61 % 13.39 %
West -15.52 % -25.66 % 7.23 % 32.29 % 17.4 %



New Housing Units Started
(Seasonally adj., at Annual Rate, units)
May 2020

prel.
April 2020

prel.
March 2020

prel.
Feb. 2020

prel.
Jan. 2020

prel.
Total
974,000 934,000 1,216,000 1,564,000 1,567,000
In structures Single-family units
675,000 674,000 856,000 1,037,000 1,010,000
In structures with 2 - 4 units
8,000 11,000 13,000 16,000 10,000
In structures with 5 units or more
291,000 249,000 347,000 511,000 547,000
Northeast
53,000 47,000 69,000 120,000 178,000
Midwest
133,000 135,000 153,000 195,000 180,000
South
479,000 570,000 693,000 881,000 778,000
West
309,000 182,000 301,000 368,000 431,000



New Housing Units Started
(Seasonally adj. at Annual Rate, units), in Y / Y)
May 2020
prel.
April 2020
prel.
March 2020
prel.
Feb. 2020
prel.
Jan. 2020
prel.
Total 4.28 % -23.19 % -22.25 % -0.19 % -2.55 %
In structures Single-family units 0.15 % -21.26 % -17.45 % 2.67 % -4.27 %
In structures with 2 - 4 units -27.27 % -15.38 % -18.75 % 60 % -41.18 %
In structures with 5 units or more 16.87 % -28.24 % -32.09 % -6.58 % 2.05 %
Northeast 12.77 % -31.88 % -42.5 % -32.58 % 33.83 %
Midwest -1.48 % -11.76 % -21.54 % 8.33 % -29.13 %
South -15.96 % -17.75 % -21.34 % 13.24 % -3.95 %
West 69.78 % -39.53 % -18.21 % -14.62 % 4.87 %



New Housing Units Started
(Seasonally adj. at Annual Rate, in % Y/Y)
May 2020
prel.
April 2020
prel.
March 2020
prel.
Feb. 2020
prel.
Jan. 2020
prel.
Total -23.25 % -24.37 % 6.76 % 34.6 % 23.1 %
In structures Single-family units -17.68 % -21.08 % 9.04 % 28.82 % 4.12 %
In structures with 2 - 4 units -38.46 % -50 % -23.53 % 220 % -44.44 %
In structures with 5 units or more -33.26 % -30.64 % 2.97 % 45.17 % 91.93 %
Northeast -27.4 % -67.36 % -19.77 % 22.45 % 28.06 %
Midwest -16.88 % -27.42 % 16.79 % 21.12 % 41.73 %
South -31.96 % -1.89 % 14.74 % 32.88 % 9.42 %
West -6.93 % -43.83 % -5.35 % 53.33 % 45.61 %



New Housing Units Authorized
(Not seasonally adjusted, units)
May 2020

prel.
April 2020

prel.
March 2020

prel.
Feb. 2020

prel.
Jan. 2020

prel.
Total
105,100 96,000 116,000 100,200 113,000
In structures Single-family units
66,100 63,300 78,300 70,800 70,400
In structures with 2 - 4 units
3,300 2,800 4,000 3,200 3,000
In structures with 5 units or more
35,700 29,800 33,700 26,200 39,600
Northeast
9,300 4,900 9,600 7,900 12,400
Midwest
15,700 13,800 14,000 10,300 12,500
South
55,800 54,600 62,700 55,100 59,900
West
24,200 22,700 29,600 26,900 28,200



New Housing Units Authorized
(Not seasonally adjusted, in Y / Y)
May 2020
prel.
April 2020
prel.
March 2020
prel.
Feb. 2020
prel.
Jan. 2020
prel.
Total 9.48 % -17.24 % 15.77 % -11.33 % 5.31 %
In structures Single-family units 4.42 % -19.16 % 10.59 % 0.57 % 12.82 %
In structures with 2 - 4 units 17.86 % -30 % 25 % 6.67 % -6.25 %
In structures with 5 units or more 19.8 % -11.57 % 28.63 % -33.84 % -5.04 %
Northeast 89.8 % -48.96 % 21.52 % -36.29 % 5.98 %
Midwest 13.77 % -1.43 % 35.92 % -17.6 % -3.1 %
South 2.2 % -12.92 % 13.79 % -8.01 % 15.64 %
West 6.61 % -23.31 % 10.04 % -4.61 % -8.74 %


New Housing Units Authorized
(Not seasonally adjusted, in % Y/Y)
May 2020
prel.
April 2020
prel.
March 2020
prel.
Feb. 2020
prel.
Jan. 2020
prel.
Total -15.24 % -19.53 % 11.65 % 11.09 % 19.7 %
In structures Single-family units -18.6 % -15.94 % 14.81 % 22.7 % 21.17 %
In structures with 2 - 4 units 0 % -33.33 % 42.86 % 23.08 % -3.23 %
In structures with 5 units or more -9.39 % -25.13 % 2.74 % -12.67 % 18.92 %
Northeast 4.49 % -51 % 4.35 % -2.47 % 36.26 %
Midwest -13.26 % -25 % 0.72 % 6.19 % 25 %
South -14.55 % -8.08 % 15.47 % 5.76 % 16.76 %
West -23.42 % -27.71 % 11.7 % 32.51 % 17.01 %







New Housing Units Started
(Not seas. adj. at Annual Rate, units)
May 2020

prel.
April 2020

prel.
March 2020

prel.
Feb. 2020

prel.
Jan. 2020

prel.
Total
89,300 84,800 100,100 111,300 109,100
In structures Single-family units
62,600 62,600 71,700 72,900 68,600
In structures with 2 - 4 units
700 900 1,100 1,200 700
In structures with 5 units or more
26,000 21,300 27,300 37,200 39,800
Northeast
4,800 4,200 5,200 7,500 12,300
Midwest
13,300 12,400 10,700 10,600 9,300
South
42,800 51,300 58,900 67,000 57,500
West
28,400 16,900 25,300 26,200 30,100






New Housing Units Started
(Not seas. adj. at Annual Rate, in Y / Y)
May 2020
prel.
April 2020
prel.
March 2020
prel.
Feb. 2020
prel.
Jan. 2020
prel.
Total 5.31 % -15.28 % -10.06 % 2.02 % 0.55 %
In structures Single-family units 0 % -12.69 % -1.65 % 6.27 % 0 %
In structures with 2 - 4 units -22.22 % -18.18 % -8.33 % 71.43 % -41.67 %
In structures with 5 units or more 22.07 % -21.98 % -26.61 % -6.53 % 2.84 %
Northeast 14.29 % -19.23 % -30.67 % -39.02 % 32.26 %
Midwest 7.26 % 15.89 % 0.94 % 13.98 % -37.58 %
South -16.57 % -12.9 % -12.09 % 16.52 % 1.95 %
West 68.05 % -33.2 % -3.44 % -12.96 % 7.89 %







New Housing Units Started
(Not seas. adj. at Annual Rate, in % Y/Y)
May 2020
prel.
April 2020
prel.
March 2020
prel.
Feb. 2020
prel.
Jan. 2020
prel.
Total -24.77 % -25.68 % 7.29 % 36.9 % 28.2 %
In structures Single-family units -20.05 % -22.91 % 9.47 % 30.88 % 7.69 %
In structures with 2 - 4 units -41.67 % -52.63 % -15.38 % 200 % -46.15 %
In structures with 5 units or more -33.67 % -31.29 % 3.02 % 47.62 % 98.01 %
Northeast -27.27 % -66.93 % -20 % 22.95 % 39.77 %
Midwest -18.4 % -29.55 % 15.05 % 21.84 % 55 %
South -34.46 % -4.47 % 15.26 % 35.9 % 12.97 %
West -7.19 % -43.85 % -4.17 % 52.33 % 55.15 %

Source U.S. Department of Commerce

       
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