Construction of single-family houses moved upward a little bit in April, the Commerce Department recently reported.
Overall starts dropped
12.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted 458,000 units, although that was confined
to multifamily housing. Single-family housing grew 2.8 percent to 368,000 units.
"With some of the best
home-buying conditions of a lifetime now in place -- including historically low
mortgage rates, affordable prices and a first-time home buyer tax credit --
single-family builders are starting to see the light on the horizon as more
consumers realize they can now obtain the home of their dreams," said NAHB
Chairman Joe Robson. "Meanwhile, the extreme difficulty that builders are
encountering in obtaining financing for new multifamily structures has ground
production in that sector almost to a halt."
The ongoing credit crisis is
preventing the multifamily housing sector from improving, said NAHB chief economist
"A severe credit crunch
for acquisition, development and construction financing and a lack of investor
interest in low-income housing tax credits are the main factors that are
keeping apartment builders from moving ahead with new projects, along with the
competition from excess inventory that's on the market," Crowe said.
"Ultimately, the logjam in builder financing must be broken in order for
housing construction to provide the boost that the national economy needs to
get back on track."