The rate of single-family housing starts and building permits authorized rose on a monthly and year-over-year basis in November, the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported today.
Single-family permit activity was up 12.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted annual basis from November 2008 to November 2009, to 473,000, the agencies reported, with single-family starts rising an estimated 5.5 percent, to 482,000.
The seasonally adjusted annual rate is a projection of a monthly total over a 12-month period, adjusted to account for typical seasonal fluctuations in construction activity.
Single-family permits were up 5.3 percent compared to the October rate and single-family starts were up 2.1 percent on a monthly basis.
Meanwhile, the rate of total building-permit authorizations fell 7.3 percent year-over-year in November while rising 6 percent compared to October. And the rate of total housing starts fell 12.4 percent year-over-year in November while climbing 8.9 percent compared to October.
Frank Nothaft, chief economist for Freddie Mac, said construction is climbing out from a market bottom.
"Stabilization in home construction appears to be on solid footing, with single-family housing starts at levels well above the low set in March of this year," Nothaft said in a statement.
"The bottom in home construction has coincided with increasing home sales throughout the past nine months, as homebuyers are now attracted by the combination of lower home prices, low mortgage rates and the perception that the freefall in the housing market is behind us."
Joe Robson, chairman for the National Association of Home Builders, said in a statement, "The fact that both starts and permits for new housing production rose last month is a good sign that we’re headed in the right direction, albeit slowly, on the road to a housing recovery. That said, the November improvement was primarily on the multifamily side, and poor job markets and other economic factors are still keeping many potential buyers on the fence for the time being."
And David Crowe, NAHB chief economist, said in a statement, "Homebuilders remain very cautious about starting new homes, and overall housing production is still down on a three-month-average basis. Understandably, it will take some time for the newly extended and expanded homebuyer tax credit to start boosting sales in individual markets — just as it did the last time such an incentive was enacted."
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