The pace of U.S. housing starts surged 13.2% to 1,072,000 in April from 947,000 in March.
This was much stronger than the 980,000 pace expected.
Building permits jumped 8.0% to 1,080,000, which was also stronger than expected.
The strength continues to be coming from multi-family homes. From the Census:
Single-family housing starts in April were at a rate of 649,000; this is 0.8 per cent (±10.8%)* above the revised March figure of 644,000. The April rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 413,000.
Single-family [permits] in April were at a rate of 602,000; this is 0.3 per cent (±0.8%)* above the revised March figure of 600,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 453,000 in April.
Multi-family homes have become increasingly popular in the wake of the housing market crash. Scarred by the memory of collapsing prices, many prospective homebuyers have opted to rent.
“The headlines look great but all the action is in the hyper-volatile multi-family components,” said Pantheon Macroeconomics’ Ian Shepherdson. “The multi-family trend is rising, by contrast, reflecting strong rental demand, though the April number overstates the underlying pace and will partly correct in May.”
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