us building permits

Photo: Josep Ma. Rosell/Flickr

May was a mixed month for housing construction in the US with the Commerce Department reporting a significant surge in building permits, but a drop in housing starts.

Building permits reached the seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,275,000 last month, an 11.8 percent rise over April and a 25.4 percent jump over May 2014. The spike brought permits to their highest monthly total since August 2007.

Among the permits authorized last month, roughly 53 percent, were for single units. Though single-family homes may have eked out a majority, multi-unit residences were not far behind. About 44 percent of the permits authorized last month were for structures with 5 units or more (the remaining units were residences with two to four living spaces).

Though each of the regions of the US saw year-over-year growth in building permits, the Northeast saw the most significant growth with a staggering 165.8 percent surge in permits over May 2014. It was followed by the West with a 14.9 percent increase, the South at 4.9 percent and lastly, the Midwest at 3 percent.

Activity for housing starts was up year-over-year with the Commerce Department reporting a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,036,000 starts in May for a 5.1 percent annual increase. However, starts did drop by about 11.1 percent from April.

Still, more housing stock has come on the market. Housing completions in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,034,000 for a 4.7 percent rise over April, and a 14.5 percent increase over the same time last year.

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