Boost for US housing as permits for new units rise

Julian Harris
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US HOME building and permits for future construction rebounded strongly last month from February’s weather-depressed levels, but analysts warned a glut of housing on the market will make further gains difficult.

The Commerce Department announced a 11.2 per cent monthly jump in the annualised number of permits for new housing units.

New housing starts in March were up 7.2 per cent from an upwardly revised 512,000 privately-owned starts in February, the data revealed.

Despite the bounce-back, both figures remain around 13 per cent below their levels at the same time last year.

“This time last year was right after the first-time home buyers tax credit so you’re comparing these numbers to a high level of volatility,” said Alex Hoder of FTN Financial in New York.