NAHB likes "solid" growth from January report

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is encouraged by the second-best pace of overall housing production since October 2008.

Housing starts increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 699,000 in Januray, according to the latest report from the Deparment of Commerce.

The "solid housing starts report indicates that builders are putting more of their crews back to work, and adds to the growing field of evidence that the overall housing market is gradually but consistently moving in the right direction,” said Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the NAHB and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. 

The NAHB's David Crowe, chief economist, said: “The fact that the three-month moving average for housing starts has now increased for nine consecutive months and is approaching the 700,000 mark for the first time since October of 2008 is indicative of a solid recovery in housing activity stemming from recent firming in employment and consumer confidence measures. That said, housing production is still far from what would be considered normal in a healthy market, and many challenges remain for home builders in terms of tight credit conditions, difficult appraisals and the continued flow of foreclosed properties on the market – all of which are certainly slowing the pace of improvement in both housing and the overall economy.”

Following significant upward revisions reported for both November and December, single-family starts held virtually flat in January with a 1.0 percent decline to a 508,000-unit rate. Together with the revised December number, this is the best pace of single-family starts since April of 2010, when the home buyer tax credit was active.