Morning Briefing: Housing starts flat in May but trend is positive

by Steve Randall20 Jun 2016
Housing starts flat in May but trend is positive
There was little change in the number of nationwide housing starts in May but experts are optimistic that the market is moving in the right direction.

Data from the HUD and US Commerce Dept. shows a seasonally-adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 1.16 million in May, down 0.7 per cent from April; but permit issuance rose 0.7 per cent to a SAAR of 1.14 million.

“Despite May’s relatively flat report, our builders are telling us that the market is improving and consumers are more ready and willing to make a home purchase,” said NAHB Chairman Ed Brady, a home builder and developer from Bloomington, Ill.

The overall decline was driven by multifamily unit starts which dipped 1.2 per cent to 400,000 units; single-family home starts were up 0.3 per cent to 764,000 units (SAAR figures).

The permit data shows that a rebound for multifamily is on the way with a 5.9 per cent increase compared to a 2 per cent decline for single-family homes.

Analysis of the 12-month rolling total of starts by Trulia reveals an 11.8 per cent increase in the numbers in the past year.
California home sales edge higher despite tight inventory
Home sales in California continued to rise in May despite being restricted by supply issues.

The California Association of Realtors says that year-over-year sales are up 2.2 per cent although single-family home sales are down 3.2 per cent in the year to May.

“While May home sales edged up slightly, we are seeing a moderation, driven by tight housing inventory and reduced affordability,” said C.A.R. President Pat “Ziggy” Zicarelli. “Affordable areas, such as the Inland Empire and Central Valley, where housing supply is relatively more abundant, are outperforming the San Francisco Bay Area, where thin housing availability is hampering home sales. In fact, eight of that region’s nine counties experienced a sales decline from the previous year.”

There were 0.3 per cent more single-family sales in May compared to a month earlier and the median price was up 1.8 per cent to $518,760 – a 6.3 per cent increase from May 2015.

Inventory levels are running at around 60 per cent of the long-term average with 3.4 months of inventory compared to the average of 6 months. The number of active listings slipped slightly from April and was also marginally lower than a year earlier.
NBC news anchor lists NJ home
As NBC’s “Today” news anchor Natalie Morales prepares to relocate to California, she has listed her New Jersey home for $3.1 million.

The New York Post reports that Morales’ 5-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom home in Hoboken was completely remodeled in 2008 and includes a 600 square-foot garden patio.