As the number of housing starts surged to 1.07 million units in April, multifamily once again took center stage. Single-family starts increased only 0.3-percent sequentially (to 649,000 units), but a 39.6-percent sequential bump in multifamily starts (to 423,000 units) fueled the 13.2 percent jump in total housing starts.
But the big story was multifamily’s 453,000 permits in April—up 21.8 percent from March. The apartment sector has only seen those kinds of initial permit numbers twice in the last 25 years—June 2008 and January 1990, according to a report from Tampa-based Raymond James and Associates. Both of these numbers ended up being outliers. The last time the sector sustained these types of numbers was in the go-go days of 1986 and 1987 (before a crash sunk the commercial sector for years).