Housing Starts and Building Permits Roar Back

Yesterday, homebuilders (NYSE:XHB) said their confidence was depleting, but home builder stocks had a great day. This morning we have better news in a report from the Commerce Department that privately-owned housing starts in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 549,000 — 7.2 percent above the revised February estimate of 512,000, but 13.4 percent below the March 2010 rate of 634,00.

Single-family housing starts in March were at a rate of 422,000 — 7.7 percent above the revised February figure of 392,000. The March rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 117,000.

Building Permits Climbed Too

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 594,000 — 11.2 percent above the revised February rate of 534,000, but 13.3 percent below the March 2010 estimate of 685,000.

Single-family authorizations in March were at a rate of 405,000 — 5.7 percent above the revised February figure of 383,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 173,000 in March.

Housing Completions were Worse than February

Privately-owned housing completions in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 509,000.  This is 14.2 percent below the revised February estimate of 593,000 and is 20.8 percent below the March 2010 rate of 643,000.

Single-family housing completions in March were at a rate of 374,000 — 22.2 percent below the revised February rate of 481,000. The March rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 130,000.