U.S. housing starts rebounded in May after falling sharply in April, but less than expected, with the sector still facing supply challenges, Commerce Department data released Wednesday.
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Thus, 1.572 million houses and buildings have started to be built in the country, at an annualized rate adjusted for seasonal variations. This represents an increase of 3.6% compared to April, whose data has been revised down (1.517 million), showing a steeper fall than initially announced. But it is worse than expected, since analysts were expecting a rebound, and 1.635 million housing starts.
And it is still much less than in March, when 1.733 million housing units were started, the highest level since July 2006. In addition, the number of building permits, a leading indicator of the market since they allow 'anticipating the number of sites that will start, also increased in May, by 3%, with 1.681 million permits issued at an annualized rate. The real estate market was one of the big winners from the crisis, with many households taking advantage of historically low interest rates to invest in a primary or secondary residence.
Teleworking, first forced in the face of the pandemic, then now very often chosen, has also pushed families to move away from city centers to have larger housing and a green area.
But the excessively low number of homes for sale initially curbed this craze.
And for several months, global supply difficulties have increased the cost of construction materials, and therefore of housing.
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The confidence of single-family home builders even fell in May to the lowest since August 2020, due to rising material prices and supply chain disruptions, according to the National Industry Association's monthly survey. (NAHB) and Wells Fargo. But lumber prices, "
which have fallen 40% from their record high in early May,
" could help put a smile on their face, according to analysts at Oxford Economics.