Residential Building

Residential building, at $258.9 billion (annual rate), edged up 2 percent in May. Multifamily housing improved 7 percent, regaining upward momentum after settling back during the previous two months. May featured the start of eight multifamily projects valued each in excess of $100 million, with the largest being a $392 million project located in Long Island City, N.Y.

Of these eight projects, four were located in the New York metropolitan area, with the other four located in San Jose, Calif., Los Angeles, Austin and Chicago.

Single-family housing in May was unchanged from its April pace, as its pattern of very slight increases followed by flat activity continues. On a regional basis, single family housing in May showed a 3 percent decline in the West, no change in the South Atlantic, 2 percent improvement in the South Central and Midwest, and a 7 percent rebound in the Northeast. Murray noted, “Mortgage rates remain very low, with the 30-year fixed rate currently standing at 4.0 percent, but first-time homebuyers have yet to give much if any lift to housing demand as the result of such factors as still tight lending standards, high student debt, and the preference by Millennials to stay with rental units in urban areas.”

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