Housing starts increased 0.3% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.793 million units, according to reuters.com. Economists expected starts to decrease to a rate of 1.745 million units.
Housing starts were up 3.9% compared with March 2021. Applications for building permits, a good indication of future activity, rose 0.4% to 1.873 million units in March.
Single-family housing starts fell 1.7% as mortgage rates climbed, and the rate for multifamily starts jumped 7.5 % to 574,000 units.
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5% during the week ending April 14—up from 4.72% the previous week and the highest since February 2011.
Still, a record-low housing inventory is expected to support homebuilding in 2022. There is a record backlog of houses approved for construction that have not yet begun.