Housing Starts and Building Permits Make a Positive Jump

Yesterday, we told you that homebuilder (NYSE:XHB) confidence was down in June after being flat for six months to the lowest it’s been since September 2010.  Today new housing data from the Commerce Department on privately-owned housing starts in May has been released, and gives a bit more optimistic view toward progress.

Housing Starts Were Up in May

Single-family housing starts in May were at a rate of 419,000, up 3.7% over the revised April figure of 404,000. The May rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 134,000.

Privately-owned housing starts in May were at a rate of 560,000; this is 3.5% above the revised April figure of 541,000, showing marked improvement when considering that, in April, single-family housing starts actually decreased from the month before.  However, that rate is still below the May 2010 rate by 3.4%.

Building Permits Climbed Too

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 612,000, up 8.7% over the revised April rate of 563,000 and also up 5.2% over the May 2010 estimate of 582,000.

Single-family authorizations in May were at a rate of 405,000, up 2.5% from the revised April figure of 395,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 190,000 in May, up from 143,000 in April.

Housing Completions Were Up From April

Privately-owned housing completions in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 544,000, up 0.4% over the revised April estimate of 542,000, but still down 22.5 percent from the May 2010 rate of 702,000.

Single-family housing completions in May were at a rate of 431,000, up 2.9% over the revised April rate of 419,000.  The May rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 108,000, down from the April rate of 118,000.