Nationwide, housing starts rebounded in May from record lows in the previous month, posting a 17.2 percent gain to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 532,000 units, according to U.S. Commerce Department figures. While driven largely by a double-digit gain in the volatile multifamily sector, the uptick also reflected a substantial gain on the single-family side and applied consistently to all regions of the country, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).”Having drawn down standing inventories to very thin levels over the past year, some home builders are now carefully replenishing their supplies in response to demand from smart buyers who are taking advantage of low interest rates and prices,” said Joe Robson, chairman of the NAHB and a home builder from Tulsa, Okla.

Single-family housing starts gained 7.5 percent in May, breaking the 400,000 mark for the first time since November 2008 to reach a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 401,000 units. Meanwhile, starts in the much more volatile multifamily sector posted a 77 percent gain following a nearly equivalent decline in the previous month, for a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 124,000 units.

Both housing starts and permits were up across every region in May. Starts rose 2 percent in the Northeast, 11.1 percent in the Midwest, 16.8 percent in the South and 28.6 percent in the West. Permits rose 5.7 percent in the Northeast, 8.9 percent in the Midwest, 2.3 percent in the South and 3.8 percent in the West.

The U.S Commerce Department also reported that sales of newly built, single-family homes in May held virtually even with the previous month, declining less than one percentage point to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 342,000 units.

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