Prices up with permits in US house market

US CONSTRUCTION is still building strength, according to official figures released yesterday, which showed that the number of building permits issued has risen back over 1m for the first time in five years.

The upbeat figures helped propel the Nasdaq to its first close above 4,000 for the first time in 13 years.

In October, the US issued 1.03m permits, the highest since July 2008, and an unexpected increase from the 947,000 recorded in September.

The price of houses is also soaring: the Case-Shiller index reported prices up 2.4 per cent in the quarter to September, and up 11.2 per cent on the year, the strongest rise since 2006.

However, Capital Economics’ Paul Diggle thinks the market boost could wane: “The increase in house prices already seen is bringing hesitant and previously sidelined sellers back to the market, helping to drive a loosening in supply conditions.”

Despite the robust appearance of the housing market, a major survey of US consumers indicates that confidence dipped between October and November.

The headline reading of the Conference Board’s monthly poll dipped from 72.4 to 70.4.

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