Construction in March weakened, according to the Commerce Department, with a combined 1.14 million housing starts—decreasing 0.3 percent from February, and 14.2 percent year-over-year. Of the 1.14 million starts, 337,000 were multifamily and 785,000 were single-family—the latter lower month-over-month by 0.4 percent.
Approvals for builds decreased 1.7 percent from February and 7.8 percent year-over-year, at 1.27 million permits. Approvals in the single-family space totaled 808,000, 1.1 percent below February’s figure, and approvals for multifamily starts totaled 425,000.
Completions declined to 1.31 million, decreasing 1.9 percent from February, but increasing 6.8 percent year-over-year. Completions ignited in the single-family space, at 938,000, a jump of 11.9 percent from February. Completions on multifamily starts totaled 364,000.
“Despite signs of stabilization of confidence in the marketplace, housing affordability continues to be a concern as housing construction weakens into March,” said Greg Ugalde, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, in a statement.
Housing starts continue to flounder following hard knocks over a winter marked by the partial government shutdown and brutal weather,” said Matthew Speakman, economic data analyst at Zillow, in a statement.
“This lackluster March report is a surprise, with housing starts still not regaining the momentum expected from lower interest rates, a strong labor market and other bullish economic signals,” Speakman said.