March housing starts rose 7.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 549,000 units, the U.S. Commerce Department reported Tuesday.
Officials with the National
Association of Home Builders said they were pleased with the good news, which
they said has been hard to come by lately.
"While the overall rate
of new-home production remains quite low and is still being weighed down by
significant uncertainties among both home builders and buyers, this latest
report is encouraging," said Bob Nielsen, NAHB chairman and a home builder
from Reno, Nev. "It means that some builders are cautiously beginning to
re-stock their extremely thin inventories of new homes in anticipation of
gradual improvement in consumer demand as the economy slowly inches toward
NAHB chief economist David
Crowe said the report was what he expected.
"The modest improvement
in new-home production and permitting in March is in line with our forecasts
for incremental gains through the spring buying season," Crowe said.
"While our builder members continue to experience a great number of
challenges with regard to competition from foreclosed and short-sale
properties, low appraisal values and tight credit conditions, they have noted
slight improvements in interest among qualified buyers, and they need to be
ready to meet the demand as it materializes."
U.S. home sales rise, goverment says
April 22, 2011