November housing starts increased 22.7% to the highest level in more than five years, the Commerce Department announced Dec. 18.
Starts rose to an annual rate of 1.09 million units in November, the most since February 2008, exceeding economists’ forecasts of an annual rate of 955,000, Bloomberg News reported.
Building permits, an indicator of future construction activity, fell 3.1% to a 1.01 million rate. October’s 1.04 million level was the highest since June 2008.
“The economy seems to be picking up, and there’s quite a lot of pent-up demand,” David Sloan, a senior economist at 4Cast Inc., told Bloomberg.
Single family unit construction grew 20.8% to an annual rate of 727,000 units, the most since March 2008 and multifamily unit construction increased 26.8% to an annual rate of 364,000.
Three of four regions saw an increase last month, led by a 41.7% rise in the Midwest and a 38.5% increase in the South that was the biggest since July 1982. Housing starts rose 8.8% in the West and fell 29.4% in the Northeast, Commerce said.