Permits for New Homes Jump to Highest Level in 4 Years

New permits for building homes jumped 7.9 percent to a 780,000-unit pace in May, the highest level since September 2008 and soundly beating analysts’ forecasts.
But the Commerce Department also reported that housing starts fell in May from a 3-1/2 year high. New home starts dropped 4.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 708,000 units.
The disparity reflects a back-and-forth housing recovery that has yet to find firm footing, but permits for new construction is a positive sign that the sector is on the mend.
The National Association of Home Builders reported yesterday that their national confidence index jumped to its highest level since May 2007, despite tight credit and ongoing competition from low-priced, distressed properties.
Revisions to Commerce Department data from prior months were positive. April’s starts were revised up to a 744,000-unit pace from a previously reported 717,000-unit rate. That was the highest mark since October 2008.

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