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March Housing Starts Shoot Up 7 Percent

by Kerri Ann Panchuk

housing-starts

Housing starts in the U.S. climbed 7 percent from February to March and rose a dramatic 46.7 percent from year-ago levels, the U.S. Census Bureau said last week.

Starts last month rose to an annual rate of 1.03 million units, up from 968,000 starts in February and above the 706,000 units recorded a year ago.

However, single-family starts alone declined, falling to a rate of 619,000 in March, down 4.8 percent from the 650,000 units recorded in February.

Building permits also fell 3.9 percent from February to March, with only 902,000 permits filed last month. That compares to 939,000 units in February, but is still 17.3 percent above the 769,000 permits filed in March 2012.

Home completions, on the other hand, rose to a rate of 800,000 units in March, 11 percent above February’s level of 721,000 units and 36.3 percent above last year’s estimate.

“This morning’s housing starts report showed a 7 percent rise in new home construction in March, the highest level in nearly five years,” said Quicken Loans Chief Economist Bob Walters.

“Pent up demand is spurring growth in building as housing starts rose 7 percent in March,” Walters said. “Homebuyers are itching for their dream home, and since the current inventory can’t keep up, consumers are opting to build. This is yet another sign of a strengthening economy, along with last week’s boost in mortgage applications and ever growing home prices.”

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