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Biggest surge in housing starts since 2008 crash

Last month’s numbers increase 15 percent over August

Posted: October 19, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 19, 2012 2:00 a.m.

September housing starts increased by the greatest levels in more than four years, a sign that the homebuilding housing market is recovering.

Housing starts increased 15 percent last month over August, accounting for a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 872,000 units, according the numbers released by the Commerce Department on Wednesday. The jump in housing starts also represents a nearly 35 percent increase over September 2011.

Permits to begin building jumped as well by 11.6 percent over August; and the number of permits issued soared 45.1 percent above September 2011.

These were the strongest numbers seen in both categories since July 2008, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

“Today’s strong report corresponds with the significant gains we’ve seen in builder confidence over the past year, and confirms our view that a housing recovery is solidly underway in a growing number of markets nationwide,” said David Crowe, NAHB chief economist.

Builders are responding to the rising demand for new homes as consumers feel more confident about the economy, said Barry Rutenberg, NAHB chairman.

Now that the industry is almost at the halfway mark of what would be considered a normal homebuilding market, Crowe said, the industry needs to see consistent improvement over an extended period to get back to where the market should be in terms of jobs and economic growth.

While September’s surge in activity is certainly encouraging, it’s important to remember that there is still have a long way to go back to a fully functioning market, Rutenberg said.

“There are still significant challenges that must be addresses in terms of credit availability and appraisal issues,” he said.



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