The Census Bureau, in conjunction with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), released its monthly new residential construction report for March, 2018. The report shows strength for multifamily housing with solid results in permitting and in construction starts.
Permits are surging
Permits for buildings with 5 or more units rebounded from their drop in February, rising 22.9 percent month over month. Permits were also up from a year earlier, rising 19.1 percent from March, 2017.
Permitting activity for housing with multiple units was strong in all regions of the country of the country. On a month over month basis, permits increased by a low of 5 percent in the Northeast to a high of 39 percent in the Midwest. On a year over year basis, permits increased by a low of 5 percent in the Northeast to a high of 35 percent in the West. In absolute terms, the highest numbers of permits were issued in the South and West as shown in the following chart.
Multifamily housing construction starts are strong
Construction starts for buildings with 5 or more units were up 16.1 percent from the February, 2018 number. This is despite the fact that February starts were revised upward from the report issued last month. Construction starts for buildings with 5 or more units in March were up 23.7 percent from a year earlier.
Construction starts for housing with multiple units was up from February, 2018 in most regions of the country, although starts fell 17 percent in the Midwest. This is in spite of the fact that starts reported for February in the Midwest were revised downward in this report. On a year over year basis, starts for housing with multiple units were flat in the Midwest, although they rose by 45 percent in the Northeast and by 40 percent in the West.
Multifamily housing completions are flat
Completions of buildings with 5 or more units were down 5.8 percent from February, 2018 to a still high seasonally adjusted annual rate of 371,000 units. The February, 2018 figure was itself revised downward to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 394,000 units from a very strong figure of 418,000 units reported last month. On a year over year basis, completions of buildings with 5 or more units was nearly flat, rising 0.8 percent.
Completions for housing with multiple units continued strong in the West and the Northeast but were below their recent pace in the Midwest and the South.
All data quoted are based on seasonally adjusted results and are subject to revision.