Single-Family Construction Permits Point to Building Growth

Single-family housing starts were flat in May, albeit off an upwardly revised estimate for construction in April. Single-family starts in May were estimated by Census/HUD at a 675,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate, after an revised estimate of 674,000 for April.

However, the turning point for the market was found in the permits data. Consistent with recent gains in the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), single-family permits increased by almost 12% in May. Total permits for single-family homes issued in 2020 on a year-to-date basis are 1.8% than the first five months of 2019. An increase in the pace of permits signals gains for single-family starts ahead.

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