U.S. single-family homebuilding and permits for future construction rose in February, igniting hope that the housing market is stabilizing after taking a hit from higher mortgage rates, according to Reuters (subscription).
The details: “Single-family housing starts, which account for the bulk of homebuilding, increased 1.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 830,000 units last month, the Commerce Department said on Thursday.”
- Single-family construction permits rose 7.6% after declining for 11 straight months, while permits for housing projects with at least five units spiked 24.3%.
- Overall, building permits increased 13.8%.
- The single-family construction backlog fell 3.0%, while the completions rate for the segment rose 1.0%.
Good news: The worst of the housing market slump could be behind us, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, which rose in March for the third month in a row.
- While homebuilder confidence is still depressed at 44 on the index (anything below 50 indicates negative sentiment), it rose two points from February.