Housing starts increased 3.6% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.57 million, the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported.

The rate increased 50.3% compared with May 2020, when the market was stifled by COVID-induced shutdowns. 

Single family housing starts increased 4.2%, and multifamily housing starts grew 2.4% in May.

“Demand remains strong despite recent gains in new home costs,” stated Chuck Fowke, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders.

Single family permits were a different story, however, falling 1.6% to 1.13 million, the lowest pace since September 2020. Overall permits declined 3.0% month-over-month in May. Fowke cited construction costs—which reached record heights in May—for the permit dip. “Policymakers need to help the industry's supply-chains in order to protect housing affordability,” he added.

Regionally, month-over-month housing starts declined 22.4% in the Northeast and increased 29.9%, 3.8% and 1.0% in the Midwest, South and West, respectively.

Housing completions in May dropped 4.1% but grew 16.1% year-over-year. 

The full report can be found here.