ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here

Office Hours

U.S. builders start fewer homes but permits jump

U.S. builders started work on slightly fewer homes in February. But they began laying the ground work for a turnaround later this year by requesting the most building permits in any month since October 2008, the Associated Press reports.

The Commerce Department said today that builders broke ground on a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 698,000 homes last month. That’s down 1.1 percent from January’s revised level of 706,000, also the highest since October 2008.

Building permits, a gauge of future construction, jumped 5.1 percent last month to 717,000. Two-thirds are for single-family homes, which are critical to a housing recovery.

It can take up to 12 months for a builder to obtain a permit and construct a single-family home.


The housing market still has a long way to go before a full recovery is under way. The current pace of construction is barely half the rate considered healthy, as are the number of permits being requested. Most analysts say it could be years before the industry returns to full health.

Construction of single-family homes, which makes up roughly 70 percent of housing starts, dipped in February to 457,000 after rising for four straight months to an 18-month high. A jump in volatile apartment construction offset the decline.

A mild winter allowed builders to keep working in most parts of the country. And an improving job market has many slightly more optimistic about home sales this year.

Builders are starting to see some signs of progress. They are more confident after seeing more people express interest in buying a home. Mortgage rates are hovering near record lows below 4 percent. And home sales started to rise at the end of last year. 


Please keep it civil. Don't post comments that are obscene, defamatory, threatening, off-topic, an infringement of copyright or an invasion of privacy. Read our forum standards and community guidelines.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus
« Back to Office Hours

Get blog updates by email

About this blog

The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.

Sign up for our business email newsletter
Latest comments »

Read all the posts from recent conversations on Office Hours.

Contributors

John Stucke John Stucke is a deputy city editor who helps build local news coverage and writes about health care, bankruptcy and rural affairs.

Recent work by John

Alison Boggs (@alisonboggs) Online Producer Alison Boggs posts and manages content on spokesman.com and its social networking accounts.

Recent work by Alison

Scott Maben Scott Maben is a Deputy City Editor who covers North Idaho news and higher education.

Addy Hatch is the city editor, and formerly was business editor.

Search this blog
Subscribe to this blog
ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here