Economy

Economic Data Roundup (06/19/2018)

6/19/18 12:00 PM

iStock-119520974.jpgPrivately-owned housing starts in May grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.350 million units, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau. That was a 5.0 percent increase from April’s downward-revised print and much better than economists anticipated. Both the single-family (+3.9 percent) and multi-family/rental (+11.3 percent) sectors posted healthy gains last month, although all of the strength was concentrated in the Midwestern region of the country. As for building permits, this metric of future construction activity unexpectedly softened in May, perhaps due to concerns about rising building costs and mortgage rates. NAHB chairman Randy Noel added that “builders are increasingly concerned that tariffs placed on Canadian lumber and other imported products are hurting housing affordability. Record-high lumber prices have added nearly $9,000 to the price of a new single-family home since January 2017.”

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Sources: Econoday, U.S. Census Bureau, NAHB, FRBSL

Post author: Charles Couch