U.S. Housing Starts Reach Highest Level in Five Years

U.S. Housing Starts Reach Highest Level in Five Years

Residential News » North America Residential News Edition | By WPJ Staff | December 18, 2013 9:38 AM ET

The number of U.S. housing starts in November increased 22.7 percent from the prior month, reaching its highest level in five years.

Housing starts reached an annually adjusted rate of 1,091,000 -- up from the revised estimate of 889,000 starts in October -- jumping 29.6 percent higher than last November's rate of 842,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development data released today.

Single-family housing starts reach a rate of 727,000 in November, increasing 20.8 percent from last month's figure of 602,000. 

The data compliments higher builder confidence reported yesterday by the National Association of Home Builders. 

"We need to build more housing, it's about getting builders back up to scale," Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in Toronto, told Bloomberg. "We're still probably below population requirements."

This is the first report in three months after September and October figures were delayed due to the government shutdown. The figures may play a part in the Federal Reserve's discussion today on whether to scale back on bond purchases, analysts say. Previous discussion of the subject led to an increase in mortgage rates

The government data showed a 3.1 percent monthly drop in building permits to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,007,000. However, the figure is 7.9 percent higher than last November's estimate of 933,000. 

Authorizations for single-family homes increased 2.1 percent in November, reaching a rate of 634,000. 

Although higher interest rates, increased home prices and economic uncertainty led to a recent cooling of the housing market, optimism remains as positive data is released, analysts say. 

Earlier this month, the Census Bureau reported the highest jump in new home sales in 33 years. 

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