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Single-family home starts stall out at 0.8% April growth

13.2% jump in overall starts almost entirely multifamily

Single-family housing starts stalled out in April, rising just 0.1%. If builders and the industry were looking for a break out of pent-up home demand, it wasn’t there.

Overall, starts advanced with a 13.2% monthly jump, but that was almost entirely due to a 40% spike in multifamily rental projects. The 1.072 million unit pace was up 26.4% on a year-ago basis. Analysts expected 0.980 million units for April, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The April surge was all multifamily. The single-family component edged up a mere 0.8% in April, following a 9.3% jump the prior month.

Housing permits gained 8%, following a 1.1% dip the prior month. The annualized rate of 1.080 million units topped expectations for 1.020 million units and was up 3.8% on a year-ago basis. Again, strength was in the multifamily component which was up 19.5% while the single-family component rose a modest 0.3%.

Housing appears to be on a dual track with the multifamily component more positive than the single-family component. The divergence in the components is consistent with the housing market index which has leveled off.

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,080,000. This is 8% (±0.7%) above the revised March rate of 1,000,000 and is 3.8% (±0.9%) above the April 2013 estimate.

Single-family authorizations in April were at a rate of 602,000; this is 0.3% (±0.8%)* above the revised March figure of 600,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 453,000 in April.

Privately-owned housing completions in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 847,000. This is 3.9% (±10.1%)* below the revised March estimate of 881,000, but is 21.2% (±13.6%) above the April 2013 rate of 699,000.

Single-family housing completions in April were at a rate of 602,000; this is 2.4%(±10.3%)* below the revised March rate of 617,000. The April rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 242,000.

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