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Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, construction remained weak in April. Total housing starts decreased 30.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 891,000 units, according to the latest report from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development and Commerce Department.

Permits also declined, down 20.8 percent to a 1.07 million unit annualized rate.

The Breakdown:

Housing Starts:  891,000 (+11.0% month-over-month, +8.1% year-over-year)
Multifamily Starts: 234,000
Single-Family Starts: 650,000

Building Permits:  1.07 million (+0.9% month-over-month, % +0.9 year-over-year)
Multifamily Permits: 373,000
Single-Family Permits: 669,000

Completions: 1.17 million (+13.5% month-over-month, % +9.9 year-over-year)
Multifamily Completions: 304,000
Single-Family Completions: 865,000

What the Industry’s Saying: 

“Despite today’s numbers, there is an undercurrent of long-term positivity in the housing market that will likely allow for a strong rebound. Our builder confidence index has already shown signs of a turnaround. Housing was showing signs of momentum before the pandemic and is poised to lead the economic recovery as virus mitigation efforts take hold and more states take gradual steps to reopen.” — Dean Mon, Chairman, National Association of Home Builders

“While the April numbers were down, they were somewhat better than forecast and are expected to improve as more of the economy reopens. Single-family weakness was particularly seen in the West and Northeast as larger metro areas were under more economic pressure due to the lockdown phase. But as a sign of the strength housing had going into this downturn, single-family starts are still 1 percent higher on a year-to-date basis.” — Robert Dietz, National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist

“This drop in new home construction is not surprising since most states were under stay-at-home orders in April, which included home builders. While it may seem grim, we know there is light at the end of the tunnel because in May, many states —including our home state of Michigan—began to allow construction. This is reassuring since, with homebuying expected to bounce back after the country reopens, it is critical builders generate enough new supply to keep up with strong demand.” — Bill Banfield, Quicken Loans Executive Vice President of Capital Markets

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