Housing Starts Rebound in May

Total housing starts rebounded from a 13-month low to increase 5 percent in May as builders worked down a backlog of unfilled orders under unusually good weather conditions. Issuance of new building permits fell by 2.1 percent, continuing the moderate downslide from the peak last September.

The pace of new-home construction rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.957 million units, according to figures released by the Commerce Department. This was 3.8 percent below the pace of a year ago. At the same time, permit issuance dipped to a monthly rate of 1.932 million units. This was 8.5 percent behind the May 2005 pace.

Single-family housing starts were up 2.1 percent in May to a pace of 1.586 million units for the month. Multifamily housing construction rose 19.7 percent for the month to a seasonally adjusted pace of 371,000 units

Three of four regions reported increases in housing starts for the month. Construction of new homes and apartments rose 1.7 percent in the Northeast, 8.5 percent in the South and 15.8 percent in the West. Housing starts were down 15.8 percent in the Midwest, following a sizeable increase in April.

Single-family permit issuance was down 2.1 percent on a national basis to a pace of 1.466 million units. The pace of multifamily permit issuance also dipped 2.1 percent to a pace of 466,000 units for the month.

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