U.S. housing starts bounced back with a vengeance in May, rising 17.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 532,000 after plunging 12.9% in April to a postwar low, the U.S. Commerce Department estimated Tuesday.
The surprising increase was led by a 62% gain in new construction of multifamily dwellings. Starts of single-family homes rose 7.5% to a 401,000 rate, the highest since November.
Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected an increase to 485,000. Building permits rose 4% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 518,000. Permits for single-family homes rose 7.9% to a 408,000 annual rate, the highest since November.