New permits and housing starts are finally trending upward

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New privately-owned housing units authorized by permits and new housing starts began to bounce back in May, from their COVID-19-fueled free fall, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau. 

“With economies reopening, home builders are slowly regaining traction in their goal to match surging buyer demand,” Bill Banfield, Quicken Loans’executive vice president of capital markets said in a statement. “Last month’s increase in construction will help ongoing inventory issues and it’s encouraging to see low interest rates support buyer demand.”

Housing units authorized by permits climbed 14.4 percent, from April to May, but were still 8.8 percent below 2019 levels. Single-family homes authorized by permits were up 11.9 percent month-over-month.

Housing starts were up 4.3 percent month-over-month, but still 23.2 percent below the May 2019 rate. Single-family housing starts only jumped 0.1 percent month-over-month.

Privately-owned housing completions were the only metric that continued to lag, likely due to lockdown restrictions being lifted in phases. Housing compositions were down 7.3 percent month-over-month and 9.2 percent year-over-year. Single-family housing completions were down 9.8 percent month-over-month.

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