Home construction down in March
"While more consumers appear to be seriously considering a new-home purchase, builders remain very cautious about starting new projects until they see more actual sales materializing," said Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. "At the same time, in places where buyers are ready to go forward with a purchase, access to credit for both builders and buyers and difficulties in obtaining accurate appraisals are persistent challenges that continue to slow that process considerably."
The 5.8 percent decline in overall housing starts in March was mostly due to a 16.9 percent decline on the multifamily side, which brought that sector's annual production pace to 192,000 units, seasonally adjusted. Meanwhile, single-family starts held virtually flat for the month with a 0.2 percent decline to 462,000 units.
"While combined U.S. housing starts lost some ground in March, this was almost entirely due to typical month-to-month volatility on the multifamily side," said NAHB chief economist David Crowe. "The fact is that single-family and multifamily starts and permits were all stronger in the first quarter of 2012 than they were in the fourth quarter of 2011, indicating that the market continues to slowly strengthen, albeit in fits and starts."