WASHINGTON - The pace of housing starts remained strong in June, staying basically unchanged at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.004 million units, according to U.S. Department of Commerce statistics. This was 9.7 percent above the pace of a year ago.

Single-family home construction was down 2.5 percent to a pace of 1.667 million units for the month. This was 9.2 percent above June of last year.

"Builders continue to build to meet very strong demand," said Dave Wilson, president of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). "Mortgage rates, though they have risen slightly in recent weeks, are still very favorable and our surveys show that builders are confident that the market will stay strong in the months ahead."

"Demand, fueled by favorable mortgage rates, as well as strong household income and job growth in most regions, continues to drive the housing market," said David Seiders, NAHB's chief economist.

While the overall pace was strong, the regional markets continued to show month-to-month volatility. In the Northeast, construction of new homes and apartments decreased 0.5 percent in June. The Midwest was down 12.1 percent following a 16.9 percent surge in May, and the West declined by 10.4 percent following a 9.4 percent jump the month before. The South increased by 11.4 percent in June after experiencing an 11.9 percent decline in May.

Nationally, multifamily housing starts increased in June to a seasonally adjusted rate of 337,000 units. This was 14.2 percent above the month before and 12 percent above the pace of a year ago.

Issuance of total building permits increased 2.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 2.111 million units for the month. Single-family permit issuance moved up 1.3 percent to a rate of 1.649 million units for the month, and the pace of multifamily permit issuance was up 6.5 percent.

"Many of the permits authorized are for homes that have not been started, and the backlog of unused single-family permits has risen to a historically high level," Seiders said.

Publication date: 07/18/2005