Multifamily Housing Starts Decline 8 Percent in May

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorWashington, D.C.–Total new-home starts (single-family and multifamily) declined 3.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 975,000 units in May, the lowest total starts number since March 1991, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.Multifamily starts dropped 8 percent, falling into a 301,000-unit rate after a substantial uptick in April. A National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) report termed this a “more realistic rate.” Meanwhile, multifamily permits rose 3.9 percent to 346,000 units.Total housing starts fell in three out of four regions in May, with the Midwest posting a 25 percent decline from the previous month, the South posting a 4.4 percent decline and the West registering a 10.3 percent decline. Only the Northeast posted a gain for the month, with a 61.5 percent boost following a large decline in April.Regionally, issuance of building permits was mixed in May, with the Midwest and South reporting declines of 7.6 percent and 8.6 percent, respectively, and the Northeast and West posting respective gains of 30.6 percent and 4.1 percent.