Home Building Permits Near Four-And-Half Year High
Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:19am EST
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Permits for future home construction touched their highest level in nearly 4-1/2 years in November, pointing to underlying strength in the housing market, even though starts dropped after three straight months of strong gains.
The Commerce Department said on Wednesday building permits increased 3.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 899,000 units, the highest since July 2008.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected permits, which lead starts by at least a month to rise to an 875,000-unit pace last month from 868,000 units in October.
Though groundbreaking fell 3.0 percent to an 861,000-unit pace, that followed three consecutive months of solid gains. The three-month moving average of starts, which irons out month-to-month volatility, showed the firmer trend remained in place.