Industry News

Huge uptick in housing starts a temporary burst, economist says

Overall slowing still seen for 2006

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U.S. home builders took advantage of record-high temperatures in January and boosted the rate of housing construction significantly higher than expectations at the start of what is seen as a cooling-off year for the housing industry. Single-family housing starts in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.81 million units, up 12.8 percent from December, according to U.S. Census Bureau and Housing and Urban Development Department data released today. Privately owned housing starts were at an annual rate of 2.28 million units, 14.5 percent over December figures. The unforeseen rise in housing starts raises questions over whether this would lead to an oversupply of homes in cooling home sales market, but National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist David Seiders expects that a decline in February housing starts will counteract the unusually strong month. "I've had some concern and I've been giving some reminders to builders... that the level of inventory is curren...