Privately owned housing starts saw a substantial year-over-year jump in May, following an even greater upwardly revised increase in April, according to a report by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

Housing starts rose an estimated 28.5 percent on an annual basis in May, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 708,000. That’s 4.8 percent below April’s upwardly revised estimate of 744,000 when housing starts rose 34.8 percent compared to April 2011. The previous estimate was 717,000.


Source: Calculated Risk  

Housing starts have been rising on an annual basis since September 2011 and are now 48.1 percent above their trough in April 2009 — 478,000 — in census records dating back to January 1959.

Source: Calculated Risk 

Regionally, the South saw the biggest year-over-year rise in housing starts in May, 39.5 percent, to an estimated 367,000. The West saw the second-biggest increase, 27.5 percent, to 167,000, followed by the Midwest at an 11 percent rise to 111,000. The Northeast saw the smallest increase, 10.5 percent, to 63,000.

Also in May, homebuilders broke ground on the highest number of new single-family homes so far this year: an estimated 516,000. That’s a 26.2 percent increase in single-family housing starts compared to May 2011 and a 3.2 percent rise compared to April — the third straight monthly increase.

Meanwhile, multifamily housing starts for buildings with five or more units rose 31.6 percent on an annual basis in May, to 179,000.

The West saw the biggest jump in single-family starts in May (37 percent), followed by the South (25.2 percent), the Midwest (20.8 percent), and the Northeast (18.4 percent).

Privately owned housing completions jumped 10.1 percent year over year in May, to an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of 598,000. Single-family completions fell 6.3 percent from April but rose 3.6 percent from May 2011, to an estimated rate of 458,000.

The number of building permits issued in May rose 25 percent on an annual basis and 7.9 percent on a monthly basis in May, to an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of 780,000. Permits for single-family homes rose 4 percent from April and 19.9 percent from May 2011, to an estimated 494,000.

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