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In the wake of Tuesday’s housing starts report, the National Association of Home Builders said demand for housing is “definitely rising."
Nationwide housing production edged up 0.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 917,000 units in February, according to government data released Tuesday. This slight upward movement represented gains in both the single-family and multi-family sectors, with single-family housing starts reaching their fastest pace since June2008.
“Demand for new homes and apartments is definitely rising as the spring buying season approaches and more young people move out on their own,” said Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. “Builders are responding to this improved demand by putting more crews back to work and pulling more permits for future construction, though this positive activity is being constrained by continuing issues with appraisals and credit availability for both builders and buyers, and also by newly arising challenges such as lot shortages and increased costs for labor and materials.”
Single-family housing starts eked out a 0.5% gain to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 618,000 units in February, bringing them to their highest level since June 2008, while multi-family starts rose 1.4% to 299,000 units.
“Today’s report indicates that, despite some bumps in the road, overall housing production continues on the solid upward trend that we saw throughout 2012,” noted NAHB chief economist David Crowe. “Moreover, further gains in permit issuance are a positive sign that home construction will continue to drive economic and job growth in the coming months, albeit at a slower pace than would be possible without certain limiting factors.”