Having already collapsed in March, analysts expected further terrible weakness in both housing starts and building permits in April as the impact of lockdowns really escalated, and the data did indeed come in ugly.
Housing Starts fell 30.2% MoM in April (worse than the 26.0% drop expected and accelerating considerably from the 22.3% drop in March). This is a record drop.
Building Permits fell 20.8% MoM in April (better than the 25.9% expected)
The SAAR chart is a bloodbath with Starts at their lowest since Feb 2015 and Permits lowest since Jan 2015
Multi-family Starts dominated the drop... down over 40% to the lowest since April 2013, single family starts were down 25.4% to 650K, lowest since March 2015
Single-family permits plunged 24.3% to 669K, lowest since March 2015, and multi-unit permits dropped 12.4% to 373K, lowest since Feb 2017.
As a reminder, applications to build are a proxy for future construction, and the biggest drops were in the Northeast (-45.5% for single-family) and West (-33.2% for single-family).