Builders started construction on more new homes in November than they have during any month for almost two years, according to a new report by the Commerce Department, giving a much-needed ray of hope to the long-suffering housing market.
Builders started construction at a seasonally-adjusted rate of 681,000 new homes, the report found, a 20-percent increase over November 2010. Of those, 437,000 were single-family homes. The rest were multi-family.
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The number of building starts for multi-family housing is a famously unreliable indicator, since the addition or completion of a few large projects can drastically affect the total. But there’s indication that the good news may last for a while. Builders requested permits at a seasonally adjusted rate of 681,000 in November. That’s a 5.7-percent increase over October, an indication that builders predict demand for housing to continue rising in 2012.
“While multi-family starts can be volatile from month-to-month, there are reasons to think that their recent rebound is not temporary,” including the fact that rents and demand for rental housing both continue to rise, Commerce Secretary John Bryson said in a prepared statement.
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