WASHINGTON — Nationwide housing starts rose 7.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 549,000 units in March from an upwardly revised number in the previous month, the U.S. Commerce Department reported. After disappointing declines in February, this gain was represented in both the single- and multi-family sectors, and was mirrored by substantial improvements in building permit issuance for the same period.

"While the overall rate of new-home production remains quite low and is still being weighed down by significant uncertainties among both home builders and buyers, this latest report is encouraging," said Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Assn. of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Reno, NV. "It means that some builders are cautiously beginning to re-stock their extremely thin inventories of new homes in anticipation of gradual improvement in consumer demand as the economy slowly inches toward recovery."

Gains in new-home production were seen across the board in March, with upward movement registered in both the single- and multi-family sectors as well as three out of four regions.

Posted by Michaelle Bradford

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