US housing starts spiked 18.6% in January, as builders ramped up construction of single-family houses to the fastest pace in 8 months.
The Commerce Department said Friday that January ground breakings occurred at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.23-M. Home construction rebounded sharply from December, when the annual rate was just 1.04-M.
The lion’s share of the new construction came from single-family houses, which were being built at the strongest rate since May 2018.
Nevertheless, overall housing starts in January were slightly below the Y 2018 total of 1.24-M, as the pace of apartment construction slowed.
The housing market was hurt for much of Y 2018 by rising mortgage rates, which made it costlier to purchase a home. But average rates have declined since early November and the average 30-year rate was 4.41% this week, providing a possible boost for home buying this year
Permits for construction, an indicator of future activity, improved 1.4% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.35-M. The permits suggest additional apartment construction in the coming months, as that segmented accounted for the gains. Single-family permits fell 2.1% in January to an annual rate of 812,000.
Have a terrific weekend.
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