Groundbreaking on single-family homes proceeded in November at the strongest pace in a decade, driving U.S. housing starts to a faster-than-estimated rate, government figures showed Tuesday.
HIGHLIGHTS OF HOUSING STARTS (NOVEMBER)
The latest results make it more likely that residential construction spending — which subtracted from economic growth in the second and third quarters — will add to the pace of U.S. expansion in the October-December period, which is already shaping up as a solid quarter.
The November gains are encouraging because they’re driven by single-family home building, which tends to spur economic activity and jobs in a bigger way than apartment construction. Single-family permits have increased for three straight months, also indicating a sustained pipeline of work for developers.
The figures reflect a boost from rebuilding and recovery efforts following hurricanes Harvey and Irma, as areas in the South had faced the brunt of the damage from flooding and winds.
A separate report on Monday showed homebuilders’ confidence jumped in December to the highest level since July 1999, indicating developers expect demand to advance amid steady economic growth, a tightening job market and still-low mortgage costs. At the same time, further gains in homebuilding may run up against hurdles including a shortage of workers, rising costs for materials and a scarcity of ready-to-build lots.
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