NAHB on starts: 'A degree of optimism'

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) described the 3.9% increase in nationwide housing starts as consistent with low inventory of unsold new homes.

"Builders are very cautiously adding to their diminished inventories in preparation for the spring buying season and an anticipated modest revival in buyer demand when the economy shows more signs of improvement," said Bob Jones, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Bloomfield Hills, Mich. "That said, we are still looking at a very low level of housing production, due largely to builders' inability to obtain construction financing."

On Thursday morning, the Commerce Department reported November starts at a pace of 555,000, and single-family starts at a pace of 465,000.  

"The modest increase in single-family starts and permits in November is consistent with a very low inventory of unsold new homes, and our member surveys that have shown a degree of optimism among builders with regard to sales expectations in the next six months," said NAHB chief economist David Crowe. "However, builders continue to find it extremely difficult to obtain credit for acquisition, development and construction activities, and this is weighing on their ability to initiate viable new projects that could generate much-needed job growth."  

The 3.9% gain in overall housing starts this November was due entirely to a 6.9% increase to a 465,000 unit seasonally adjusted annual rate of new-home production on the single-family side. Meanwhile, multi-family housing starts declined 9.1% to a 90,000-unit rate.


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