The numbers: Housing starts occurred at an 891,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate in April, the Commerce Department said Tuesday, representing a 30% drop from March. It was the slowest pace of new home construction since February 2015.
Permitting activity for newly-built homes fell 20.8% between March and April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.07 million.
Housing starts fell short of the consensus forecast of economists polled by MarketWatch — they estimated new home construction to take place at a 900,000-unit annual rate. Building permits beat economists’ consensus forecast of 996,000.
What happened: New-home construction declined for both multifamily properties (down 40%) and single-family homes (down 25%). The Northeast experienced the most pronounced slowdown in building activity with a 43.6% drop overall in starts and a 66% decline in single-family starts. This was a reflection of the large concentration of COVID-19 cases in the New York City metropolitan