US housing starts rise in Nov, but permits drop

WASHINGTON, Dec 16 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. housing starts rose
slightly more than expected in November, but a surprise drop in
permits for future home construction to a 1-1/2 year low
indicated continued weakness in the housing market even as the
economic recovery gains traction.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday housing starts
rose 3.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of
555,000 units. October’s starts were revised up to a
534,000-unit pace from the previously reported 1-1/2 year low
rate of 519,000 units.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected housing starts to
rise to a 550,000-unit rate.

Despite last month’s pick-up in residential construction,
housing remains weak as a 9.8 percent unemployment rate weighs
on demand and homeowners’ ability to hang on to their
properties, lagging an acceleration in broader economic
activity.

A survey on Wednesday showed sentiment among home builders
was mired at record low levels this month, suggesting
residential construction will again be a drag on gross domestic
product growth in the fourth quarter.

New building permits fell 4.0 percent to a 530,000-unit
pace last month, the lowest since April 2009, after a 0.9
percent increase in October. Permits were dragged down by a 23
percent plunge in the volatile multi-family segment. Permits
for single-family homes rose 3 percent last month.

Analysts had expected overall building permits to rise to
a 560,000-unit pace in November.

Groundbreaking last month was lifted by a 6.9 percent rise
in single-family home construction. Starts for the multi-family
segment, however, fell 9.1 percent. New home completions
tumbled 14.1 percent to a record low 513,000 units in
November.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

US housing starts rise in Nov, but permits drop