New Housing Starts at Five-Year High, Building Permits Near Annual High

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The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development reported Wednesday morning that new housing starts in November rose to an annual seasonally adjusted rate of 1.09 million, an increase of 22.7% from the upwardly revised October rate of 889,000 and a gain of 29.6% above the November 2012 rate of 842,000. The consensus estimate from a survey of economists expected a rate of around 952,000.

The November total is the highest number of new housing starts since February 2008.

The seasonally adjusted rate of new building permits fell to 1.01 million, which is 3.1% below the revised October rate of 1.04 million but 7.9% higher than the November 2012 rate of 933,000. The consensus estimate called for 995,000 new permits. The October number marked the year-to-date high.

Single-family housing starts rose to an annualized rate of 727,000 in November, up 20.8% from the revised October rate of 602,000.

Permits for new single-family homes rose 2.1% in November, to an adjusted annual rate of 634,000, from a revised total of 621,000 in October.

Homebuilder Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN) reported good earnings this morning and a 13% increase to its backlog of orders for single family homes and a jump of 34% in the dollar value of the new orders. The company’s backlog totals 4,806 homes, up 19%, and the dollar value of the backlog is up 40% to $1.6 billion.