March Housing Starts Impacted by Coronavirus
U.S. housing starts have been greatly impacted by the outbreak of the coronavirus. Privately owned housing starts fell more than 22% in March to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.216 million, according to the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development. The staggering drop was the largest monthly step-back since March 1984, states Reuters. However, starts are still 1.4% higher than they were in March 2019.
"Homebuilding is not at the center of the current economic storm, but demand for single-family homes and apartments will certainly be impacted by the sharp pullback in overall economic activity and the spike in the unemployment rate," according to a report from Wells Fargo Securities.
Building permits decline nearly 7% in March, yet the rate is 5% above March 2019. Housing completions were also down month-over-month as well as year-over-year. All four regions saw housing starts decline in March. The South and West were the only two regions to see improvement from March 2019.
Economists predicted housing starts would slip to 1.3 million units, according to Reuters.
-Michael Miller, managing editor