U.S. housing starts fall 8.5% in January

By Qiong (June) ZhangNo Comments

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/housing-starts-slump-as-apartment-building-slows-2013-02-20

The U.S. Department of Commerce reported that construction on new U.S. homes fell 8.5% in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 890,000.

Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected January’s starts to decline to a rate of 914,000 from an original December estimate of 954,000, on Wednesday the government revised December’s starts rate to 973,000.

The housing starts data are volatile from month to month. Looking longer term, starts have increased 24% from a year ago, but remain below a bubble peak of almost 2.3 million in 2006.

Although overall construction on new U.S. homes fell sharply in January, growth continued on a year-over-year basis. Starts for single-family homes increased 20% from the same period in the prior year. Starts for single-family homes ticked up 0.8% to a rate of 613,000, the highest rate since July 2008.

The government also reported Wednesday that building permits, a sign of future demand, rose 1.8% in January to a rate of 925,000 — the highest rate since June 2008. Permits for single-family homes rose 1.9% to a rate of 584,000.

By region, starts dropped 50% in the Midwest and 35% in the Northeast. Meanwhile, starts rose 17% in the West and 4% in the South.

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