WASHINGTON — The multiple-month U.S. residential construction report was very favorable, showing an up-trend to levels that are just about reaching the levels of household formations, thus suggesting the housing recovery will be sustained.
November housing starts were reported at 1.091 million, up 22.7% on the month. October was reported at 889,000, and September at 873,000, all better than expected.
The prior release was for August and showed 883,000 starts (there were data processing delays after the government shutdown). Starts in November have returned to their highest level since February 2008.
The gain in starts reflects better November single-family starts of 727,000.
Singles were 602,000 in October and 580,000 in September. They had averaged near 600,000 in Q2 and Q3, so the latest reading represents a renewed gain, albeit one boosted by seasonal adjustment.
November housing permits also are strong, though dipping 3.1% on the month at 1.007 million overall. This is 7.9% over last year's level. Single permits were up 2.1% to 634,000 in November.
Starts were up in November in all regions except the Northeast (down 29.4%, perhaps due to severe weather).
November housing completions were 823,000. This suggests there could be construction hiring ahead if the industry attempts to maintain a 1 million pace.
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