Home building permits near 4-1/2 year high
Reuters | December 2013 | link
WASHINGTON – U.S. permits for future home construction set their fastest pace in nearly 4-1/2 years in November, pointing to underlying strength in the housing market, even as starts dropped after three straight months of strong gains.
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Electrician Calvin Warren helps build a Toll Brothers Inc. home in the Azura community on November 20, 2012 in Boca Raton, Florida.
The Commerce Department said on Wednesday building permits increased 3.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 899,000 units, the highest since July 2008.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected permits, which lead starts by at least a month to rise to an 875,000-unit pace last month from 868,000 units in October.
Groundbreaking fell 3.0 percent to an 861,000-unit pace, worse than economists’ expectations for a pullback to 873,000 units. October’s starts were revised down to show an 888,000-unit pace instead of the previously reported 894,000 units.
The step back in homebuilding in November followed three straight months of solid gains, and reflected a 5.2 percent drop in the Northeast, which was slammed by Superstorm Sandy in late October. Starts also tumbled 19.2 percent in the West.
The housing market has regained some footing after a historic collapse that pushed the economy into its worst recession since the Great Depression.
That firming trend was reinforced by a report on Tuesday showing builders’ confidence in the market for new single family homes rose this month to its highest level in more than 6-1/2 years.
Homebuilding is expected to add to gross domestic product growth this year for the first time since 2005.
Last month, groundbreaking for single-family homes, the largest segment of the market, fell 4.1 percent to a 565,000-unit pace. Starts for multi-family homes slipped 1.0 percent to a 296,00-unit rate.
Permits to build single-family homes dipped 0.2 percent last month to a 565,000-unit pace. Permits for multi-family homes increased 10.6 percent to a 334,000-unit rate.