Housing Starts Decline Slightly in March

Multifamily Drop Offsets Single-Family Strength

Source: Economics Group of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Summary Strong Start to Spring Selling Season Bolsters Single-Family Construction
  • Total housing starts fell 0.8% to a 1.42 million-unit pace during March. February’s strong gain was revised slightly lower to a 1.432 million unit pace.The overall drop in residential construction owed entirely to a decline in multifamily starts, as single-family starts rose 2.7% in March, the second straight improvement.The uptick in single-family construction arrives alongside slightly lower mortgage rates and incentive programs, which have attracted affordability-crunched buyers from the sidelines. Low existing single-family inventories and easing material prices have been other tailwinds.Single-family permits rose 4.1% in March, the second straight monthly gain. The recent upturn in permits suggests continued improvement in single-family starts in the near-term. Tighter credit conditions and rising recession risks loom large, however.