November 20, 2012
Home construction is on the rise. The Department of Housing and Urban Development reported today (link opens in PDF) that housing starts jumped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 894,000 for October, a 3.6% gain over September's 863,000, and 42% above October 2011's 630,000 starts.
October is the third straight month of housing start increases, and directly follows September's 15% spike.
On a regional basis, housing starts in the West accounted for the largest gain (17.2%), while Superstorm Sandy may have been partially responsible for the Northeast's 6.5% decline. Federal officials said overall that Sandy's impact was "minimal" because the storm affected construction activity in a small part of the country for only the last few days of the month and did not affect their ability to collect data.
Source: Author, data from census.gov
Following news this week of rising home sales and more confident homebuilders, this report serves as another potential sign of a recovering housing market.
A less-than-certain future is, however, reflected in a slight slump in building permits. Permits fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 866,000 in October, 2.7% below September's 890,000 revised number. Compared to last year, October 2012's permits still amount to a nearly 30% increase.