Privately-owned housing starts in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 926,000, 2.0 percent above the revised February estimate of 908,000, but is 2.5 percent below the March 2014 rate of 950,000, according to figures released in April by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Single-family housing starts in March were at a rate of 618,000; this is 4.4 percent above the revised February figure of 592,000. The March rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 287,000.
"Today's reading demonstrates that the housing industry continues to make gains at a gradual pace," said NAHB Chairman Tom Woods, a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo. "There are still some price sensitive buyers who remain on the fence."
"Builders are being careful not to add inventory beyond expected demand, especially as they struggle with increasing costs for lots, labor and materials," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "However, pent-up demand, low mortgage interest rates and a growing economy should keep the housing industry moving forward throughout the rest of the year."
Regionally, combined single- and multifamily starts increased the Northeast and Midwest, with respective gains of 114.9 percent and 31.3 percent. Housing production dropped 3.5 percent in the South and 19.3 percent in the West.
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,039,000. This is 5.7 percent below the revised February rate of 1,102,000, but is 2.9 percent above the March 2014 estimate of 1,010,000.
Single-family authorizations in March were at a rate of 636,000; this is 2.1 percent above the revised February figure of 623,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 378,000 in March.
Regionally, the Northeast registered a permit gain of 39.8 percent, while the Midwest, South and West posted respective losses of 4.4 percent, 14.2 percent and 4.3 percent.