The May 2011 Residential construction report showed Housing starts increased 3.5% from April 2011 to a level of 560,000. This is -3.4% below May 2010. This economic metric has error rates much above the actual percentage change increases quoted. April had a -8.8% decline, revised upward from -10.6%.
Single family housing starts increased 3.7% from April and are down -8.9% for the year. Single family housing is 75% of all residential housing starts. Housing of 5 or more units increased 8.9% for May, but is up 24.1% for the year. Guess all of those people who were foreclosed on will need an apartment now, assuming they have any money to make rent. In other economic reports, rental vacancy rates are dropping.
Building permits, also increased 8.7% to 612,000 and are up 5.2% from this time last year. Single family building permits increased 2.5% from April, which was an all time low. Below is the St. Louis Federal Reserve FRED graph for Building permits. The graph shows building permits are not always a smooth line from month to month.
Housing Completions increased 0.4% but are down -22.5% from May 2010.
This report has a large variance, so to establish a trend line one must take into account months of data. This report is also seasonally adjusted, so those believing May, due to spring and increased building activity should see a spurt, take into account there are seasonal adjustments to this report.
These numbers are still below March levels and as one can see by the graphs, rolling around in the post housing bubble deflating balloon.
Bottom line, housing is spinning around in the bottom death knell. Add to a slowing overall economy, repressed wages, high unemployment, don't expect to see a rebound for a very long time.
Here are April's graphs and original numbers.