Once Hot, Housing Continues To Cool

Starts for privately-owned housing were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.849 million in April, down 7.4% from March revised rate of 1.996 million, the U.S. Commerce Department and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly reported on May 16. Last month's start rate was lower than the 1.95 million that economists generally expected and was the third consecutive monthly decline.

Single-family housing starts in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.535 million, 5.6% below March's rate of 1.626 million. The start rate for housing in buildings with at least five units was 262,000, down 21.3% from March's rate of 333,000.

Building permits for new residential construction also declined in April, suggesting that there will be fewer housing starts in the months ahead. Building permits for privately-owned housing were issued at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.984 million last month, down 5.4% from the revised March rate of 2.097 million.

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