The number of US housing starts increased, but was less than expected while the number of building permits dropped in March. The article in aol.com points out this shows an underlying weakness in the housing market, and there are fears could continue in spite of the improving weather as spring progresses.
Figures from the Commerce Department show ground breaking increased by 2.8%, reaching a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 946,000. Economists had anticipated housing starts would increase to 973,000 in March, and this lower figure is disappointing. When figures are compared to March last year they show a drop of 5.9% which is the largest seen since April 2011. The number of housing starts in February was revised, and whereas it had been previously reported as a 0.2% full, new figures show an increase of 1.9%. The cold weather seen in December and January reduced building activity, and housing starts have also been affected by a shortage of skilled labor, building lots, and increases in prices of building materials.
A recent report shows house builders are still less optimistic about the property markets short-term prospects. The housing market is being affected by higher mortgage rates, and increases in house prices are …read more