Single-Family Permits Post Strong May Numbers

The housing market is gaining steam.

Single-family permits issued in May were 11.9 percent above April levels in the United States, while all privately-owned housing unit permits were up for 14.4 percent, according to a report released Wednesday by the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Total housing starts also were up 4.3 percent for the month.

“We expect this momentum to continue as economic activity recovers,” National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist Robert Dietz said. “In another promising sign, single-family permits are up almost 2 percent on a year-to-date basis and builders are bringing back thousands of workers laid off in March and April to meet renewed demand.”

On a regional and year-to-date basis (January through May of 2020 compared to that same timeframe a year ago), combined single-family and multifamily starts are 1.7 percent higher in the Midwest, 4.7 percent higher in the West, 6.7 percent lower in the Northeast and 0.2 percent lower in the South.

“We are seeing many positive economic indicators that point to a recovery, including low interest rates, rising demand and an increase in mortgage applications,” NAHB Chairman Dean Mon said. “Single-family and multifamily housing production are on an upward path while overall permits, which are a harbinger of future building activity, posted a double-digit gain.”