U.S. housing starts surge 23 percent in November

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Housing starts in the U.S. jumped nearly 23 percent in November, reaching its highest level in more than five years and a further sign that housing market is strengthening.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, housing starts climbed 22.7 percent in November to an annual rate of 1,091,000 from the previous month, according to the Commerce Department on Wednesday. The figure is higher than economists’ forecast of 952,000 and brought the average rate of starts to 951,000 for the past three months.

The rate for November was the highest since February of 2008 and marked just the second month in the last four years that the annual rate reached the 1 million level.

Single family home starts jumped to 727,000, their highest level since March 2008 but higher by 21 percent than the revised October figure.

Building permits for November, a gauge of future construction, slightly slipped to 1,007,000. Permits were up 6.7 percent in October.

The increase in housing could also make the case stronger for U.S. Federal Reserve officials to begin scaling down their $85bn-a-month bond-purchasing program in their two-day meeting that concludes on Wednesday. Fed officials have said they could do so in the next several months.

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