After awful data in the previous month, both housing starts and building permits rebounded in March and even surprised on the upside of expectations. Building permits rose by 11.2% M/M in March, to a total level of 594 000, while the consensus was looking for an increase to only 540 000. The previous month’s data were upwardly adjusted too.
The details show that the rebound was led by multi-family permits (25.2% M/M), but also single family ones rose by 5.7% M/M. Housing starts, jumped by 7.2% M/M to a total level of 549 000, while an increase to 520 000 was forecasted. Also here, the February data were positively adjusted. Both single (7.7% M/M) and multi-family (5.8% M/M) starts rebounded in March. Housing under construction fell marginally (-0.2% M/M), while housing completed plunged 14.2% M/M due to weakness in the single-family component. The uptick in both US housing starts and permits is a welcome sign after the weak data from the previous months, providing early indicators that the US housing market started the spring selling season on a strong footing. Nevertheless, both starts and permits are still at very low levels, which causes huge changes in the month on month figures.