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Single-Family Housing Starts Rise 3.2 Percent in May

WASHINGTON, June 19 - Single-family housing production increased for a
third consecutive month and builders pulled more permits for both
single- and multifamily construction in May, according to newly released
figures from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau. The data reveals that the
seasonally adjusted annual rate of single-family housing starts rose 3.2
percent to 516,000 units - the best pace since December of 2011.

"Today's report is a good sign that builders are cautiously moving to
replenish their depleted inventories of single-family homes in response
to increasing buyer demand," said Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the
National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from
Gainesville, Fla.  "In certain housing markets across the country, the
momentum toward recovery is gradually building, though tough credit
conditions and inaccurate appraisal values continue to weigh down that
progress."  

"The latest data provides evidence of the kind of slow but steady growth
that we expect to see in housing production through the end of the year,
and shows that housing continues to regain strength regardless of some
weakening in other parts of the economy," said NAHB Chief Economist
David Crowe. "Particularly encouraging are the gains in permit issuance
posted in both the single-family and multifamily sectors in May, which
are indicative of builders' intentions to start new projects in the
coming months." 

While overall housing starts posted a 4.8 percent decline to a
seasonally adjusted annual rate of 708,000 units in May, all of the
decrease was on the more volatile multifamily side. Single-family starts
rose 3.2 percent to 516,000 units as multifamily starts declined 21.3
percent to 192,000 units.

Regionally, dips on the multifamily side drove down combined housing
starts in all but the West, which registered a 14.4 percent gain. The
Northeast, Midwest and South posted declines in total housing starts of
20.3 percent, 13.3 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively.

However, strong gains in new permitting activity for both single-family
and multifamily homes drove the combined permitting number for May up
7.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 780,000 units - the
strongest pace since September of 2008. Single-family permits were up
4.0 percent to 494,000 units (best pace since March of 2010) while
multifamily permits gained 15.3 percent to 286,000 units.

Three out of four regions posted gains in combined permit activity in
May. The Midwest, South and West posted gains of 6.1 percent, 11.1
percent and 10.5 percent, respectively, while the Northeast registered
an 8.0 percent decline.

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