Housing Starts Decline; Housing Permits Rise

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports overall housing starts declined in March 5.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 654,000 units, primarily due to a 16.9 decline in multifamily starts. Single-family housing starts dropped slightly 0.2 percent to a SAAR of 462,000 units, according to figures released by the Commerce Department. NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said, “The fact is that single-family and multifamily starts and permits were all stronger in the first quarter of 2012 than they were in the fourth quarter of 2011, indicating that the market continues to slowly strengthen, albeit in fits and starts.” Regionally, the Northeast registered a 32.8 percent gain in housing starts, the Midwest showed a 1.0 percent increase, the West remained even, and the South posted a 15.9 percent decline in overall housing starts. Meanwhile, MHProNews.com has learned, building permits for homes rose 4.5 percent to a SAAR of 747,000 units in March, the best pace since Sept. 2008.

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