New Construction... signal for market bottom?

June 30, 2012

Housing Starts in June highest in four years

By Paul Davidson, USA TODAY 

Housing starts jumped 6.9% in June to a 3 ½-year high, underscoring the residential real estate's slow recovery as a bright spot in a sputtering economy.

Workers frame a home in a new community in Gilbert, Ariz. Real estate experts say the Phoenix metro housing market is recovering faster than other U.S. cities.

Construction of homes and apartments rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 760,000 in June, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That exceeded analysts' estimates and was the highest level since October 2008. Single-family home starts increased 4.7% to 539,000, highest since March 2010, though activity that year was inflated by a federal tax credit for home buyers.

Building-permit applications, a barometer of future construction, fell 3.7% to a seasonally adjusted pace of 755,000, but the decline was driven by a 10.9% drop in multifamily permits, which can be volatile.

After hitting all-time lows in the recession, single-family starts began to pick up the second half of last year and kicked into higher gear the past six months. Multifamily construction began to turn up about 18 months ago as Americans who lost their houses to foreclosure, among others, turned to renting.

"We're finally starting to get some traction and move up in a credible way," said Robert Denk, senior economist for the National Association of Homebuilders.

Housing starts rose 36.9% in the West, 22.2% in the Northeast and 4.2% in the South, while falling 7.3% in the Midwest.




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