There's another sign that U.S. consumers are planning to sit out the slowing domestic economy in the comfort of new homes. Starts of privately owned housing were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.038 million in April, 11% above the revised March figure of 1.836 million, the U.S. Commerce Department and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly reported on May 17. Economists generally had projected a rate of 1.98 million for April.
"The rebound may have been weather-related, as poorer weather depressed starts in March," said Claudia Lokody, an economist at Merrill Lynch & Co., New York.
Starts of single-family homes were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.635 million in April, 6.3% higher than the revised March rate of 1.538 million. The start rate in April for buildings with five or more units was 351,000, some 34% higher than March's rate of 262,000.