New Construction Favors Single-family Homes as States Move To Allow More Multifamily Housing
Summary from AllSides News Team
A decline in multifamily housing construction offset a rise in single-family homes in March, leading to an overall slowdown in housing construction.
The Details: According to a U.S. Census Bureau report, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts — when construction begins on a project — fell 0.8% from February and 17.2% from 12 months prior. While single-family housing starts rose 2.7% from February, multifamily housing starts fell 5.9%. New single-family building permits rose 4.1% from February, but a drop in multifamily permits led to an overall 8.8% decline in permits.
For Context: The news comes as some states are trying to remove policy roadblocks against denser multifamily housing, which advocates say will lower housing costs by raising supply. The issue often cuts across traditional party lines — in late March, Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill requiring local governments to allow more multifamily housing, aligning with Democrat-led states like Washington, which is considering banning single-family zoning, and California, which effectively banned it in 2021.
How the Media Covered It: Because there were conflicting trends, reports often conflicted with one another. While Washington Examiner (Lean Right bias) highlighted the overall construction decline as potential evidence of a coming recession, Bloomberg (Lean Left bias) and MarketWatch (Center bias) attributed it to multifamily housing specifically. While Fox Business (Lean Right bias) noted a decline in overall building permits, Reuters (Center bias) noted a “surge” in single-family building permits as evidence of a stabilizing market.
Featured Coverage of this Story
From the CenterUS housing market stabilizing as single-family homebuilding, permits surge
U.S. single-family homebuilding increased for a second straight month in March, while permits for future construction surged, offering some glimmers of hope for the depressed housing market ahead of the busy spring selling season.
The improvement in the single-family housing market segment, which was reported by the Commerce Department on Tuesday, likely reflected buyers taking advantage of a retreat in mortgage rates. A survey on Monday showed falling mortgage rates and tight supply of previously owned houses were supporting the new home market.
"Mortgage rates have pulled back from the...
From the RightHousing starts plunge 17.2%, raising recession fears
The number of housing starts tumbled in March, an indication that the housing market is taking a hit and may be falling into a recession.
Housing starts measure the change in the number of new residential buildings that began construction. Starts fell 17.2% from March 2022 to this past month, according to a Tuesday report from the Census Bureau. They are now at 1.42 million. From February to March, they fell 0.8%.
Additionally, permits to build, which are seen as a proxy for future construction, decreased by 8.8% in March.
“We expect choppiness for...
From the LeftUS Housing Starts Decline, Dragged Down by Multifamily Units
US housing starts fell in March as a pullback in multifamily projects more than offset a pickup in construction of single-family homes.
Beginning home construction fell 0.8% to a 1.42 million annualized rate, according to government data released Tuesday. Multifamily starts dropped 5.9%, while single-family homebuilding increased 2.7% to a three-month high.
The rise in one-family home construction may reflect builders’ efforts to stoke demand after a spike in borrowing costs sidelined many prospective buyers. With inventories constrained in the resale market, homebuilders have an opportunity to fill the void...