The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) said a total of 283,344 single-family permits have been issued over the first four months of 2020—an 8.5% increase of April 2019.
Annually, single-family permits peaked in the south region at 11.5% and hit a low of 0.6% in the northeast.
Thirty-five states saw increase single-family permits over the past year, while 15 states and the District of Columbia recorded a decline.
South Dakota reported the highest growth rate during this time at 35.9%, rising from 588 to 799. The District of Columbia saw single-family permits fall by 70.5%.
The 10 states issuing the highest number of single-family permits combined accounted for 63.5% of the total single-family permits issued. After dropping significantly in March, April’s reading of housing starts and permits from the U.S. Census Bureau reported further declines.
April saw housing permits fall by 20.8%; housing starts declined by 30.2%, and completions fell by 8.1% for the month.
Housing starts fell 43.6% in the northeast month-over-month and the west reported a 43.4% decline from March. The number of homes completed fell annually by 11.8%.
Holden Lewis, Home and Mortgage Specialist at NerdWallet, said April’s drop is associated with the uncertainty of whether or not buyers will return to the market later this year.
“On top of that, they have to guess about the availability of construction workers in the next few months. This will exacerbate the housing shortage that many places suffer from. With fewer houses being built, there will be less opportunity for today's homeowners to move up and sell to first-time buyers,” he said.
Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American Financial Corporation, said April’s housing data reflects the “depth and severity” of an economy put into a “medically-induced coma.”
“Housing starts data is no exception, as permits, starts, and completions fell by double digits relative to one year ago,” Kushi said. “Today’s numbers indicate less supply may be on the market to meet a late-blooming home-buying season.”