May housing starts, seasonally adjusted, fell sharply with the expiration of the tax credit  – signed contract by April 30. No surprises here. I suspect we’ll see similar levels for a few months. The tax credit likely “poached” sales from future months rather than jump start the housing market.
Privately-owned housing starts in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 593,000. This is 10.0 percent (±10.3%) below the revised April estimate of 659,000, but is 7.8 percent (±9.7%) above the May 2009 rate of 550,000. Single-family housing starts in May were at a rate of 468,000; this is 17.2 percent (±7.9%) below the revised April figure of 565,000. The May rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 112,000.
I’ve long marveled at the stats in this report (sarcasm) – notice the margin of error in the above paragraph. Still, it’s the standard reporting method for new housing starts.
The chart above is intended to provide perspective to any month over month gains. The peak for housing starts was January 2006 at $2.3M annual starts, 3.8 times the seasonally adjusted annualized rate.