US Home Construction +9.7% in January
Groundbreakings on new homes jumped 9.7% last month to the highest level since October 2016, welcome news for a housing market struggling with a shortage of homes for sale.
The US Commerce Department says housing starts came in at an annual pace of 1.33-M in January, up from 1.21-M in December and 1.24-M in January 2017.
Construction of single-family homes rose 3.7%. Construction of apartments and condominiums shot up 19.7%, the most since December 2016.
Home construction soared 45.5% in the Northeast, rose 10.7% in the West and grew 9.3% in the South. But homebuilding dropped 10.2% in the Midwest.
Building permits, an indicator of future construction, rose 7.4% in January.
A strengthening economy under Resident Trump has given more Americans the confidence to shop for homes. But despite last month’s uptick, builders have not been putting up homes fast enough to meet demand.
A shortage of houses on the market has driven up prices and blunted sales.
Standard & Poor’s reported last month that US home prices rose 6.2% in November from a year earlier, according to its CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index.
Sales of existing homes fell 3.6% in December, though sales rose slightly for Y’s 2017 from 2016, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Meanwhile, mortgage rates are creeping up. The rate on the benchmark, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.38% this week, the highest level since April 2014.
Have a terrific President’s Day weekend