While the single-family housing stagnation continues, multi-family, or rental, housing starts and permits jumped in the month of July according to the latest Census data.
In the latest month, housing starts rose by 2.1% from June, and were higher by 5.6% from a year ago, rising to 1.211MM, above the 1.180MM expected, driven by a 33K jump in rental unit starts, which rose to 433K, while single-family units remained largely unchanged at 770K, up 0.5% from last month's 766K. As the chart below shows, single-family start have barely budged in the past year even as rental units appear to once again be growing at a solid pace.
On an annual basis, the rate of change continues to hug the flatline, and after last month's modest decling, starts rose by 5.6% in the latest month.
Meanwhile, the more importantl building permits data series, fell modestly to 1.152MM in July from 1.160MM in June, on top of the 1.153MM expected.
While these series are notoriously volatile, if indeed multi-family housing is picking up it could provide a modest ray of hope for America's renters who continue to suffer under record high asking rents, in part due to a lack of supply. Then again, it depends who ends up being the ultimate owner of these buildings, and if the units end up controlled by Wall Street it is likely that there will be no respite from record high rates any time soon as the "cartelling" of supply is set to continue for the indefinite future.