New-Home Building at Highest Level in 3 Years


The home-building industry continues to dig out of its slump as the pace of construction posts big jumps for single-family and multifamily houses. Builders had a level of starts in June not seen since October 2008, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

Housing starts in June soared 6.9 percent, reaching a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 760,000 units. Broken down, single-family home construction, which makes up the largest segment of those new housing starts, increased 4.7 percent in June. Multifamily housing starts, considered a volatile segment of the market, jumped 12.8 percent last month.

Housing starts were nearly 24 percent higher in June compared to last year at that time.

“Housing continues to be the one sector of the U.S. economy that is outperforming expectations,” Michael Gapen, an economist at Barclays, told Reuters.

Still, while housing starts posted a big leap in June, new housing permits — a gauge of future building — dropped 3.7 percent in June.

Source: “Housing Starts Are Up, but Building Permits Decline,” Reuters (July 18, 2012)