The number of building permits issued for new residential projects in Wisconsin plummeted by nearly 32% in April, according to a new review by a construction-analyst website.
Construction Coverage, a review website for construction management software and commercial truck insurance, reported Wednesday that 1,345 building permits were issued for residential units in Wisconsin in April, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. That figure was down 31.6% from the same month the previous year, and the total value of residential building was down nearly $67.66 million. Of all states, Wisconsin had the 15th largest decrease in the issuance of new permits.
In the U.S. as a whole, the issuance of building permits for new residential units was down by 20%, a decline in value of nearly $4.36 billion. Even so, there were some signs that the housing market was recovering.
US residential construction rebounded 4.3% in May after showing steep declines caused by the economic shutdown brought on by the coronavirus.
The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that new homes were started at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 974,000 last month after steep declines in April and March. Even so, construction activity remains 23.2% below last year’s pace.
Home builders are hoping that as the nation re-opens, housing will post a strong recovery, helped by super-low mortgage rates. Industry analysts caution that the fledgling rebound could be derailed if infections spike again, causing potential buyers to put off looking for a new home.
Hot spots are popping up in parts of the country where building activity is increasing, but not in the South, where housing starts slid.
Applications for building permits, a good sign of future activity, increased by 14.4% in May to an annual rate of 1.22 million units.
The report showed that the construction of new single-family homes was up 5.4% and the construction of apartments with five units or more increased by 16.9%.
Construction was up a huge 69.8% in the West and 12.8% in the Northeast but housing starts fell 16% in the South, the biggest market for home construction, and were down 1.5% in the Midwest.
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo survey of builder confidence released Tuesday showed a record jump of 21 points in June to a reading of 58. Any reading above 50 indicates a positive market.
However, analysts cautioned that the rebound in housing may not come as quickly as the industry had hoped.
“We look for strong demand, improving homebuilder confidence and an ongoing shortage of supply to support growth in housing starts over the rest of the year, but we still expect starts to be down on average across 2020 overall,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, lead U.S. financial economist at Oxford Economics.
– Martin Crutsinger of The Associated Press contributed to this report