Housing starts in April were strong, increasing by 4.7 percent to a 685,000 annual rate, according to the median estimate of 80 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. The Associated Press reports a slightly higher annual pace of 717,000 homes, based on Commerce Department figures.
Time reports these strides in the housing market:
- Construction went up for both single-family homes and apartments.
- Overall housing starts around the nation have hovered around 700,000 over the last six months, which is 100,000 more than levels for the previous six months.
- Even though the rate of construction is at 50% of the 1.5 million annual pace economists believe to be ideal, the recent gains coupled with job growth and builder confidence indicate that the nation is on the right track.
- Single-family home construction increased 39% from its low point during the recession.
Economists watch the number of starts because new homes, which comprise about one-fifth of the total housing market, create an average of three jobs over a year and approximately $90,000 in taxes. Based on 717,000 units, the housing market would support over 2.15 million jobs.