U.S. Housing Starts Unexpected rise in March; Building Permits Increase

U.S. homebuilding unexpectedly rose in March, but starts for single-family housing tumbled amid rising mortgage rates.

Housing starts increased 0.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.793 million units last month, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday. Data for February was revised higher to a rate of 1.788 million units from the previously reported 1.769 million units.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast starts slipping to a rate of 1.745 million units. Permits for future homebuilding increased 0.4% to a rate of 1.873 million units last month.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.0% during the week ended April 14, the highest since February 2011, up from 4.72% in the prior week, according to data from mortgage finance agency Freddie Mac. Further increases are likely with the Federal Reserve adopting an aggressive monetary policy posture as it battles sky-high inflation.

The Fed in March raised its policy interest rate by 25 basis points, the first hike in more than three years. Economists expect the U.S. central bank will hike rates by 50 basis points next month, and soon start trimming its asset portfolio.

Rising borrowing costs are combining with higher home prices to reduce housing affordability for first-time buyers. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market index dropped to a seven-month low in April, with builders blaming the “jump in mortgage rates and persistent supply chain disruptions.”

Still, record low housing supply should continue to underpin homebuilding this year. There is a record backlog of houses approved for construction that are yet to be started.

Goldman Sachs estimates that housing starts will increase 5% to 1.7 million this year, arguing that “when housing markets are tight, like they are today, homebuilders are likely to keep building because they should have little fear that homes will sit vacant after completion.”

Single-family housing starts, which account for the biggest share of homebuilding, dropped 1.7% to a rate of 1.200 million units in March.


Biden to Require Infrastructure Projects be Made with U.S. Iron, Steel

Federal agencies will have to ensure that new projects funded by the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package are made with U.S. materials.

he Biden administration is directing federal agencies to ensure that new construction projects funded by the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package are made with U.S.-made materials.

In 17 pages of guidance Monday, the Office of Management and Budget instructs federal agencies to make sure that by mid-May, any projects to build or repair roads, bridges, water pipes or even broadband internet are made with domestic products, including iron and steel.

“This means all manufacturing processes, from the initial melting stage through the application of coatings, occurred in the United States,” the guidance says of the metals requirement.

Agencies must also ensure that the bulk of components of any manufactured products used in the construction projects are made in the U.S.

Government agencies can obtain waivers for the requirements if it’s found that procuring the products domestically isn’t in the public’s interest, that quantities of the materials aren’t “sufficient and reasonably available … or of a satisfactory quality,” or if the U.S.-sourced materials would raise the cost of a project by more than 25 percent, the guidance says.

The new guidance is part of the administration’s moves to implement the infrastructure law, which President Joe Biden signed in November. It’s also part of Biden’s strategy to alleviate supply chain issues in the U.S. amid the Covid pandemic and inflation.

During the previous administration, then-President Donald Trump hit European countries with steep tariffs on steel and aluminum products, which raised prices on those materials in the U.S. At the G-20 summit in October, Biden announced that the U.S. had reached a deal to reverse those tariffs.

CORRECTION (April 18, 2022, 8:42 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated the cost of the infrastructure package. It is $1.2 trillion, not $1.2 billion


(NBC News)

Minnesota Housing Announces Funding Availability

Minnesota Housing and its partners are pleased to announce the 2022 Consolidated Request for Proposals (RFP) is now open for applications. 

The annual Consolidated RFP process makes funding available to help build and preserve homes that are affordable in communities throughout Minnesota. With your partnership, we can help Minnesotans live and thrive in a safe, stable home they can afford in a community of their choice. 

The rising cost of materials and construction continues to impact the cost of new production and preservation of existing homes and developments.  

This is the second year of the Qualified Allocation Plan. The emphasis remains on serving lower-income households and longer-term affordability. 

Minnesota Housing seeks to engage more ownership and development teams led by women or by Black, Indigenous or people of color. 

Thank you to all our funding partners involved in this Consolidated RFP, including the Metropolitan Council and Greater Minnesota Housing Fund. 

Read on for the latest guidance for single-family and multifamily applications and for contacts for technical assistance.


Single Family Application Submission Deadline

  • Thursday, July 14 by noon: Single Family Application deadline.

Multifamily Application, Innovative Construction Techniques and Section 811 Project-based Rental Assistance (PRA) Submission Deadlines

  • Thursday, April 28 by noon: Pre-application for Innovative Construction Techniques and Section 811 PRA due.
  • Thursday, May 5: Applicants will be notified of Innovative Construction Techniques and Section 811 PRA program eligibility.
  • Wednesday, May 11: Deadline to submit a Request for Action (RFA) to modify existing Minnesota Housing debt.
  • Thursday, May 19 by noon: Intent to Apply deadline – required for all Multifamily applications (date may change based on state legislative actions). Please be aware that projects that do not meet this deadline will not be able to apply.
  • Thursday, July 14 by noon: Multifamily application deadline including site control, qualification forms and financials.
    NOTE: The application fee is also due by this date.

Review Available Resources

Single Family Resources

 Single Family Homeownership Resources:

  • Grant funds
  • Deferred loan funds
  • Interim construction loans

The Single Family RFP will include funding for the Workforce and Affordable Homeownership Development program.

Single Family – Housing Infrastructure Bonds (HIB) Proceeds Deferred Loans:

  • Value gap (difference between the total development costs and the after-improved appraised value) for all program eligible entities
  • Owner-occupied rehabilitation direct costs for all program eligible entities
  • Costs of land acquisition, demolition and utility connections for community land trusts only

 Single Family funds may be used for the following activities:

  • Acquisition, rehabilitation, resale (grants or interim construction loans)
  • Affordability gap/down-payment and closing cost assistance (grants or deferred loans)
  • New construction (grants or interim construction loans)
  • Owner-occupied rehabilitation (grants or deferred loans)
  • Tribal Indian Housing Program (grants)

Multifamily Resources

Multifamily Rental Projects:

  • $11M (estimated) in 2023 Housing Tax Credits (HTC) Round 1
  • Deferred loans on a competitive basis
  • Housing Infrastructure Bonds (HIBs): subject to 2022 legislative approval
  • Amortizing first mortgages (applicants may apply through the Consolidated RFP or can contact us separately to inquire about mortgages outside of the Consolidated RFP)
  • Section 811 PRA

Application Tools

The application instructions below provide essential information and important details for submitting an application and the required supporting documentation for all application types.

Request Technical Assistance

We want to help you submit strong proposals. Check out the technical assistance opportunities below.

Single Family Applicants

Multifamily and Section 811 PRA Applicants

Create a Portal Account (Multifamily and Section 811 PRA Applications Only)

All multifamily and Section 811 PRA applications are required to be submitted in the Multifamily Customer Portal. The Multifamily Customer Portal facilitates the application and post-selection process for developers seeking funding from Minnesota Housing for rental housing that is affordable.

New to Applying?

Gather Application Materials

Project Eligibility, Feasibility and Organizational Capacity

Minnesota Housing will select a variety of project types throughout Minnesota communities and we prioritize projects by community need, feasibility, organizational capacity, reasonableness of funding request and strategic priorities. Learn more about our guiding principles and priorities in Minnesota Housing’s 2020-2022 Strategic Plan. We encourage proposals for a variety of project types including:

  • Permanent supportive housing for homeless populations
  • Preservation projects (both rental and homeownership)
  • New construction or affordable homes for purchase
  • Workforce housing
  • Senior housing

Please review and analyze the Community Profiles data to help identify areas that fit these criteria.

Funding Recommendations

After applications are received and reviewed, all funding recommendations are subject to approval by the Minnesota Housing board of directors. The selection date is anticipated to occur at the December 2022 board of directors meeting and the date will be posted on Minnesota Housing’s website. Funding partner proposal recommendations will be made at their respective board meetings.

You’re Invited: Multifamily Consolidated RFP and Technical Assistance Kickoff Event (Multifamily Applications Only)

In preparation for the 2022 Multifamily Consolidated RFP/2023 HTC Round 1, you’re invited to a virtual Consolidated RFP and Technical Assistance (TA) kickoff event on Tuesday, April 19 and Wednesday, April 20.

The first session on Tuesday, April 19 will focus on emerging developers and those that are new to the Minnesota Housing Consolidated RFP. The presentation will include an introduction to the Consolidated RFP and the following related topics:

  • Underwriting
  • Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (HTC)
  • Housing Infrastructure Bonds (HIB)
  • Supportive Housing

The second session on Wednesday, April 20 will focus on Multifamily Consolidated RFP updates.

Agendas for both sessions will be available after you register (see below).

NOTE: The Consolidated RFP and TA kickoff is not a replacement for more focused, project-specific TA. Minnesota Housing recently rolled out a new TA request form so please complete and submit the Technical Assistance Request Form and you will be connected with a staff person who can discuss specifics about your proposal and answer your questions.

Registration Information

  • Tuesday, April 19 from 9:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
  • Wednesday, April 20 from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Register for Kickoff Event

If you’re unable to attend either day, sessions will be recorded and available on Minnesota Housing’s website at a later date. An agenda will be available after you have registered.

Projects with Existing Minnesota Housing Debt (Multifamily Applications Only)

If a preservation project has existing Minnesota Housing debt that you want counted under Financial Readiness to Proceed/Leveraged Funds in the Self-Scoring Worksheet, contact the Request for Action (RFA) team no later than Wednesday, May 11, 2022. If you don’t contact us by this date, Minnesota Housing staff may not have time to process your request, which could impact scoring.

COVID-19 Guidance and Updates (Multifamily Applications Only)

Minnesota Housing recognizes that COVID-19 continues to create certain application challenges. Considering this, Minnesota Housing has modified requirements and offers guidance related to important application components outlined below. Please contact to discuss any other issues or concerns as you prepare your Consolidated RFP proposal. We appreciate your partnership and communication with us as you develop application proposals in the current environment.

Needs Assessments: Physical Needs Assessment (PNA), Capital Needs Assessment (CNA) and Critical Needs Guidance

If inspections at occupied properties, including dwelling units, can be accomplished safely, they should be conducted to properly complete needs assessments. If inspections at properties can’t be accomplished safely, alternative ways to collect information about capital needs and deficiencies may be used. This may involve looking at past maintenance records, interviewing property managers and property maintenance staff, conducting resident surveys, etc.

Please indicate on the PNA/CNA/20 year capital expenditure template how information was gathered if not based on inspections. Unverified needs assessments may require follow-up inspections and/or further documentation after selection and during the due diligence phase. If you have any concerns or question(s) about assessment methods, please contact the Minnesota Housing staff architect assigned to your region.

Market Studies

Market study analysts may encounter hindrances to completing work, particularly related to field work and accessing market information. Disruption to regular office hours for important contacts such as property managers, HRAs, and planning officials, and teleworking may create delays in analysts’ ability to obtain certain market information. If circumstances restrict analysts’ ability to complete a market study, Minnesota Housing suggests the following alternatives for information-gathering.

Field Work:

  • Consult third parties, such as architects or engineers
  • Use internet services like Google Earth, Google Street View, Bing or county assessor websites
  • For existing properties, request a virtual tour or photographs of the site from the property manager
  • For new construction, the developer may also be a resource for photographs

Surveying Current Rent Data:

  • Use alternative data sources for rents
  • Access published information on properties’ or management companies’ websites
  • Consider aged data from an interview from the recent past (to be disclosed in the report if used)

If any of these alternatives or others are used to produce the market study, the analyst must disclose and detail their methods. Please contact if you have questions or concerns.


Single Family Applicants

Contact the Impact Fund Team at

Multifamily Applicants

Section 811 PRA Applicants

(Minnsesota Housing eNews)