Why things look good for the housing market right now

New figures indicate strengthening housing market

Dec.December 17, 2019 03:15 PM
Housing starts exceeded estimates in November (Credit: iStock)

Housing starts exceeded estimates in November (Credit: iStock)

The year is rounding out on a strong note for the construction industry.

As homebuilder sentiment hits a 20-year high, new government data shows that privately owned housing starts climbed 3.2 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.37 million — up from 1.2 million in November 2008.

Building permits in November hit a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.48 million, a 1.4 percent increase on the revised October rate, and the highest rate since 2007.

The figures come amid low mortgage rates, job growth and bolstered consumer confidence, Bloomberg reports.

Single‐family housing starts, the biggest sector of the market, were at a rate of 938,000 in November, 2.4 percent above the revised October figure of 916,000. It’s the highest level since January.

Housing starts ticked up in the West and Northeast, but dropped in the Midwest and South. The multifamily segment also rose 4.9 percent to 427,000 units last month, according to the survey.

The overall industry, which accounts for about 3 percent of the economy, is still limited due to supply-side constraints like labor and land availability, according to the survey. Plus, mortgage rates have increased in recent weeks, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rising to 3.73 from 3.49 percent in early September.

The report for December is due to be released in January 2020. [Bloomberg]Sylvia Varnham O’Regan

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