Housing starts decreased 0.2% in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.724 million units, according to bloomberg.com. Economists expected starts to increase to a rate of 1.76 million units.
Housing starts were up 14.6% compared with April 2021. Applications for building permits, a good indication of future activity, fell 3.2% to 1.819 million units in April.
Single-family housing starts fell 7.3% as mortgage rates climbed, and the rate for multifamily starts jumped 15.3% to 612,000 units.
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.3% during the week ending May 13—the highest since 2009.
The number of single-family homes authorized for construction but not yet started rose slightly to the highest level in more than 15 years. Overall backlogs climbed to the highest level since 1974.
The number of single-family homes under construction continued to increase, reaching 815,000—the most since 2006.