Building permits were issued in March at a seasonally
adjusted rate that was 3.9 percent lower than in February but 17.3 percent
higher than one year earlier according to data released this morning by the
U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development
(HUD). The permitting rate in March was
902,000 compared to the February rate of 939,000 which was itself revised down
from an original rate of 946,000. In March 2012 the rate was estimated at
Permits for single-family construction were issued
at a rate of 595,000, 0.5 percent below the revised (from 600,000) February
figure. Permits for units in buildings
with five or more units were issued at a rate of 283,000, down 8.1 percent from
the 308,000 permits issued in February.
Construction was begun on residential construction
at a seasonally adjusted rate of 1,036,000, an increase of 7.0 percent from the
substantially revised February estimate of 968,000 and 46.7 percent higher than
the rate in March 2012 of 706,000.
February's rate was initially reported at 917,000.
Single-family housing starts were at a seasonally
adjusted rate of 619,000, 4.8 percent below February's revised estimate of
650,000, originally reported at 615,000 and 28 percent higher than single-family
starts in February 2012. An estimated
392,000 units were started in multi-unit buildings compared to 309,000 units in
Residential units were completed at a rate of
800,000 compared to 721,000 in February, an increase of 11.0 percent. Completions
of single family units are estimated at 593,000, up 2.6 percent from the
previous month. Residential completions
were 36.3 percent higher than a year earlier and single-family completions were
34.8 percent above the older rate.
In the Northeast region permitting was up 24.7 percent
on both a month-over-month and year-over-year basis. Housing starts were down 5.8 percent from
February but up 12.6 percent from March 2012 and completions rose 24.2 percent
and 15.5 percent respectively.
Permitting decreased 2.4 percent in the Midwest compared
to February but rose 9.2 percent from a year earlier. Housing starts were up 9.6 percent and 28.4
percent for the two periods. Completions
increased 2.7 percent from February but were down 6.6 percent from the same
period in 2012.
In the South there were 6.2 percent fewer permits in
March than in February but 21.8 percent more than in March 2012. Starts increased 10.9 percent and 58.2
percent and completions by 3.4 percent and 29.1 percent over the two respective
Permitting in the West was down 10.4 percent on a
monthly basis and up 10 percent annually. Starts were up 2.7 percent from February and increased
53 percent from March 2012. Housing
units were completed at a rate that was 25.5 percent higher than in February
and 112.6 percent higher than a year earlier.