Production and permitting of new single-family homes continued on an upward trajectory in July, according to newly reported numbers from the U.S. Commerce Department today.
But substantial declines on the multifamily side dragged down the overall numbers, with combined single- and multifamily starts down 1 percent and permits off by 1.8 percent.
Said Chief Economist David Crowe of the National Association of Home Builders:
“The latest report marks a fifth consecutive month of improvement in single-family housing starts and a fourth consecutive month of improvement in single-family permits. This is exactly in keeping with our latest member surveys, which indicate that builders are cautiously optimistic about single-family sales conditions over the next several months. That said, the significant drop-off in multifamily construction and permitting shown in recent months’ reports may be a harbinger of the financing challenges facing all home builders going forward. A severe lack of credit for acquisition, development and construction financing, along with other issues tied to low appraisals and the upcoming expiration of the first-time buyer tax credit, could derail the progress made so far. Government action is required to ensure that housing can help generate jobs and economic growth in the days ahead.”
To see what a range of economists have to say about the numbers, check out the Wall Street Journal’s compedium.
Single-family housing starts posted a 1.7 percent gain, while single-family permits registered a 5.8 percent gain. Both were the highest levels registered since October of 2008.
Meanwhile, multifamily starts tied a record low set in April of this year, falling 13.3 percent to a 91,000-unit rate. Multifamily permits fell 25.5 percent to 102,000 units.
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