US Construction Business Looking Good
Washington, USA – Construction of new houses in the US has registered a rise in January. It was almost 10 per cent higher than in the same month last year, according to latest government data. Residential construction was healthier than expected as it rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 699,000, up 1.5% from 689,000 in December, data released Thursday by the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development revealed.
But more encouraging, the performance last month is up 9.9% from January 2011. The data compared well the market analyst expectations of around 645,000 to 671,000 for the month of January. The pick-up in residential construction augurs well for the sector. They were at levels of 702,000 in November 2011.
The numbers are still far below the peak three years back. In October 2008, the start-up housing projects were at 777,000. The break-up of category shows in the single-family column, housing starts were at a rate of 508,000, actually down 1.0% from December 2011, but up 16.2% from January’s figure last year.
New projects with at least five units rose 14.4% to a rate of 175,000 in January, continuing the surge in creation of apartment buildings. The average rate of starts over November, December and January in this category was 188,000, compared with 122,000 in the prior year’s period a gain of 54%.
Building permits offered a similar story of steady improvement. Permits were at a rate of 676,000 for January, 0.7% above December and 19.0% above the January 2011 figure. Despite some gains, analysts note that housing data remains at relatively low levels, and the market faces a lengthy recovery.
Many attributed the growth to the unusually mild weather last month. ”The weather impact will eventually unwind, though not necessarily this month,” said Stephen Stanley at Pierpont Securities. “If we pan out sufficiently to gain a better perspective, 500K single-family starts is still a disastrously depressed number.”
Confidence among home builders is the highest in more than four years, but remains less than desired. According to a report from RealtyTrac, an online marketplace of foreclosure properties, there are signs that the foreclosure process is beginning to get back to normal after a slowdown.