American housing market jumps

US housing starts soared 9.3 per cent in the month to November to hit an 18-month high, according to figures out yesterday from the Commerce Department. New residential building permits rose to an annualised level of 681,000 in the month, up from 644,000 in October. Multifamily starts reached an annualised rate of 190,000, their highest level since September 2008. “By historical standards, homebuilding activity is still very depressed, but at least it appears to be on an established upward trend,” said Capital Economics analysts.