Housing starts in five-plus unit dwellings rose by 25 percent in May 2013 to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 306,000 units, reports the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). However, “on a three-month moving average basis, which smooths the month-over-month volatility, housing starts in five-plus unit dwellings were 302,000 in May, basically unchanged from April.”
“This is the fourth consecutive month in which the three-month moving average has registered a level greater than 300,000,” says NAHB.
Meanwhile, condo and coop sales remain higher than a year ago in May 2013. Median condo and coop prices increased from 189,800 in April 2013 to $202,100 in May 2013. Over the past 12 months to May, condo coop prices have risen by 12 percent, in part reflecting falling inventory levels, currently 4.9 months’ supply, says NAHB.
The May 2013 statistics show that materials costs are rising, but still remain generally lower than their peaks during the housing boom. Softwood lumber is still at 89 percent of housing boom peaks. And gypsum is 95 percent of its highs a few years ago, according to NAHB.