Housing starts were revised up 7% in March to 585,000 then fell 10.6% in April. Single-family starts declined 5% and permits dropped slightly to 30,000 below starts. Multi-family starts plunged 24% and permits also fell but remained nearly 30% higher than starts. Reed Construction Data's Chief Economist Jim Haughey says the multi-family market, while volatile, is clearly rebounding. But the single-family market is slipping lower.
Single-family construction had stabilized early in 2009. Since then, it has turned up briefly several times, and appeared to have stabilized again earlier this year. But now Reed's single-family forecast is being lowered, which pulls down expected total construction activity in 2011 and 2012.