Total U.S. housing starts dipped 7.4 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.849 million units, according to figures released by the U.S. Commerce Department.
Year-to-date, new-home construction for the first 4 months of the year was down 0.8 percent from the first 4 months of 2005.
Single-family housing starts declined 5.6 percent in April to 1.535 million units. Multifamily housing construction dropped 15.1 percent for the month to a seasonally adjusted pace of 314,000 units.
"The declines in starts and permits for April reflect a natural pay-back for the weather-related surge in production earlier in the year, as well as builder adjustments to eroding demand and rising inventories," said NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders. "We continue to believe that the evolving slowdown represents an orderly adjustment toward more sustainable levels of housing production, following the record surge in 2005 that was fueled by extraordinary demand for single-family homes and condo units by investors/speculators."
"NAHB's forecast continues to show a 6.1 percent decline in total housing starts for 2006 as a whole, following an equivalent increase last year," Seiders added.
The regional patterns of housing starts were mixed in April. Construction of new homes and apartments rose 9.1 percent in the Northeast and 16.3 percent in the Midwest, in both cases following sizeable declines in March. Housing starts were down 16.0 percent in the South and 9.7 percent in the West.
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