Privately-owned housing starts in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,001,000, 6.5 percent below the revised April estimate of 1,071,000, but 9.4 percent above the May 2013 rate of 915,000.
Single-family housing starts in May were at a rate of 625,000, 5.9 percent below the revised April figure of 664,000. The May rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 366,000.
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 991,000. This is 6.4 percent below the revised April rate of 1,059,000 and is 1.9 percent below the May 2013 estimate of 1,010,000.
Single-family authorizations in May were at a rate of 619,000; this is 3.7 percent above the revised April figure of 597,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 347,000 in May.
"The dip in single-family production shows builders continue to move carefully in adding inventory," said Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del. "They are also facing supply chain issues, such as access to lots and labor."
Single-family housing starts were down 5.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 625,000 units in May. Meanwhile, multifamily production fell 7.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 376,000 units.
"The encouraging news is that single-family permits are up by almost 4 percent," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "The modest increase is evidence that builders expect continued release of pent-up demand and a gradual expansion of the housing market. We are still forecasting a 12 percent increase in total housing starts for the year."
Regionally in May, combined single- and multifamily housing production fell in the Northeast, the Midwest and the West, with respective losses of 25.2 percent, 16.5 percent and 16.3 percent. Meanwhile, the South posted a 7.3 percent gain.
Issuance of building permits registered a 6.4 percent decline to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 991,000 units in May. This was due entirely to a decrease in the multifamily sector, where permits registered a 19.5 percent loss to 372,000 units. Single-family permits increased to 619,000 units.
The Northeast and Midwest registered overall permit gains of 3.5 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively, while the South and West posted respective losses of 7.3 percent and 15.2 percent.