Housing starts rise almost 7%
The long-beleaguered home construction market posted some positive news last month, as housing starts rose 6.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted 760,000, the U.S. Census Bureau, and Department of Housing and Urban Development reported.
The figures represent the fastest rate of new-home construction since October 2008.
"This good report is in keeping with the results of our latest builder confidence survey, in which many of our members said that they are seeing an influx of more serious buyers to the new-homes market this summer," said Barry Rutenberg, a home builder from Gainesville, Fla., and chairman of the National Association of Home Builders. "What's especially encouraging is that, as consumers realize the advantages of purchasing a newly built home while prices and interest rates are so favorable, builders are able to put more crews back to work on construction sites across the country. This in turn is helping spur local economic growth, and policymakers need to be very careful to not take any steps that would derail the beginnings of such a positive trend at this crucial time."
The July NAHB-Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, a survey of builder confidence, reported its best numbers since March 2007 and the largest one-month gain in about a decade, association officials said.
"This is one more piece of evidence that housing is starting to take back its traditional role of leading the nation out of recession, and tracks with our forecast for continued improvement in new construction through the end of this year," said NAHB chief economist David Crowe. "While many challenges continue to weigh down the housing recovery - including those related to builders' and buyers' access to credit, poor appraisals and the number of distressed properties in certain markets - production of single-family homes is now the strongest it has been since 2010 due to rising consumer demand brought on by improving market conditions."