Home builders react to starts data

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) interpreted the 10.5% rise in August housing starts as a kind of correction following the expiration of tax incentives April 30.

"The vast majority of builders in this country operate small, single-family home-building firms, and they are struggling to obtain acquisition, development and construction financing that will enable them to meet the current level of buyer demand and put more Americans back to work," said Bob Jones, chairman of the NAHB and a home builder from Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

"The housing market has been in a holding pattern as the economy stalled in the second and third quarters. Construction activity returned to pre-home buyers tax credit levels in August, as builders replaced sold single-family homes and begin replenishing apartment building supply after a three-year steady decline in multi-family construction," said NAHB chief economist David Crowe.

"Consumer uncertainty about the economy, the poor job market and the large number of foreclosed properties for sale continue to be a drag on housing. However, favorable home-buying conditions should help spur additional demand as the job market gradually improves later this year," he added.

Most of the gain in housing production in August was due to a 32.2% jump to 160,000 units on the more volatile multi-family side.