From the Census Bureau: Permits, Starts and Completions
Privately-owned housing starts in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,319,000. This is 1.9 percent above the revised February estimate of 1,295,000 and is 10.9 percent above the March 2017 rate of 1,189,000. Single-family housing starts in March were at a rate of 867,000; this is 3.7 percent below the revised February figure of 900,000. The March rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 439,000.
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,354,000. This is 2.5 percent above the revised February rate of 1,321,000 and is 7.5 percent above the March 2017 rate of 1,260,000. Single-family authorizations in March were at a rate of 840,000; this is 5.5 percent below the revised February figure of 889,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 473,000 in March.
Click on graph for larger image.
The first graph shows single and multi-family housing starts for the last several years.
Multi-family starts (red, 2+ units) increased in March compared to February. Multi-family starts were up 23.8% year-over-year in March.
Multi-family is volatile month-to-month, and has been mostly moving sideways the last few years (although moving up over the last few months)
Single-family starts (blue) decreased in March, and are up 5.2% year-over-year.
The second graph shows total and single unit starts since 1968.
The second graph shows the huge collapse following the housing bubble, and then – after moving sideways for a couple of years – housing is now recovering (but still historically fairly low).
Total housing starts in March were above expectations, and starts for January and February were revised up.