Production of new single-family homes and apartments increased 1.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of nearly 700,000 units in January, according to figures from the U.S. Commerce Department. The National Association of Home Builders says this marks the second-best pace of overall housing production since October of 2008.
solid housing starts report indicates that builders are putting more of their
crews back to work, and adds to the growing field of evidence that the overall
housing market is gradually but consistently moving in the right
direction," said Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the NAHB and a home builder
from Gainesville, Fla.
Rutenberg also pointed to recent
builder surveys that indicate a steadily increasing optimism regarding market
conditions while the number of improving housing markets nationwide have grown over
the past six months.
"The fact that the three-month
moving average for housing starts has now increased for nine consecutive months
and is approaching the 700,000 mark for the first time since October of 2008 is
indicative of a solid recovery in housing activity stemming from recent firming
in employment and consumer confidence measures," said David Crowe, NAHB chief
economist "That said, housing production is still far from what would be
considered normal in a healthy market, and many challenges remain for home
builders in terms of tight credit conditions, difficult appraisals and the
continued flow of foreclosed properties on the market - all of which are
certainly slowing the pace of improvement in both housing and the overall