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Housing data suggests slow, but steady growth in single-family sector

By Berit Griffin June 20, 2014

If single-family construction is the greatest signifier of a recovering housing market, new data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Census Bureau suggests there is good reason to be patient, but quietly positive.

May data indicates housing starts were up 9.4 percent year-over-year, but down 6.5 percent from April. However, single-family permits — the best indicator of future activity — increased 3.7 percent.

“The modest increase [in single-family permits] is evidence that builders expect continued release of pent-up demand and a gradual expansion of the housing market,” David Crowe, NAHB’s chief economist, said in a press release. “We are still forecasting a 12-percent increase in total housing starts for the year.”

The slow down may not be for lack of effort or demand, either.

“The dip in single-family production shows builders continue to move carefully in adding inventory,” says Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders. “They are also facing supply chain issues, such as access to lots and labor.”