ConDig (19-May-20). Construction of new homes in the US nosedived 30.2% in April as economic activity ground to a halt in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic-driven lockdown of the country.
The drop took starts to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 891,000 units compared with 1.22 million units in March.
Single-family starts fell 25.4% to a 650,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate. This is the lowest single-family starts rate since the first quarter of 2015. The multifamily sector, which includes apartment buildings and condos, crashed 40.5% to a 241,000 unit pace.
Overall permits, which are a sign of future construction activity, tumbled 20.8% to a 1.07 million unit annualized rate in April. Single-family permits fell 24.3% to a 669,000 unit rate, while multifamily permits dipped 14.2% to a 405,000 pace.
“Despite today’s numbers, there is an undercurrent of long-term positivity in the housing market that will likely allow for a strong rebound,” said Dean Mon, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
“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.”
The NAHB noted that while April numbers were down sharply, they were better than forecasted and should improve as states across the country slowly start to reopen.
Total cases of Covid-19 in the US were reported at 1.48 million as of May 18 and total deaths allegedly at 89,407.