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US Housing Starts See Unexpected Surge in November

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New-Construction Projects

US Housing Starts See Unexpected Surge in November

Census Bureau data show new-home construction was up 14.8% in November, suggesting the housing crunch may be easing

December 19, 2023
Row of modern farmhouse-style new-construction homes
Image: Elena_Alex / stock.adobe.com

Monthly data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Tuesday shows housing starts increased at a much stronger pace than expected in November, rising 14.8% to an annualized rate of 1.56 million units, with single-family home construction up 18% from October to 1.14 million units—the highest level since April 2022. Meanwhile, building permits dropped in November, decreasing to 1.46 million, which is 2.5% less than October, real-estate marketplace Zillow reports.

Home builders saw some renewed spirit in the market in November, with confidence rising from October lows, likely leading to the rise in housing starts. It is a good sign that builders are starting to ramp back up building activity with a market still in desperate need for more inventory. More homes are also leaving the new construction pipeline, with completions up in November giving buyers more options. This increased activity in new construction is vital for getting back on track for a more balanced market, and while permits might be down from last month, November was the first time in the last 14 months that housing permits were up annually. 

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