Builders Start Homes at Fastest Pace Since ’06

Number of the Day: The most relevant or interesting figure in personal finance

14

That’s how many years it’s been since builders started constructing houses at the pace they did in March, the U.S. Census Bureau said Friday. 

Recovering from a weather-induced slump in February, builders got to work on new houses at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.7 million homes, the highest rate since June 2006 and a 19.4% increase over February. 

The numbers indicate the homebuilding industry has more than recovered from the winter storms that froze real estate activity in February. Builders apparently have not been discouraged too much by the rapidly rising price of building materials. The surge in new homes will likely come as a relief to homebuyers who have had a hard time finding houses lately due to record low numbers of them being listed for sale. And the buying power of those house hunters is still being amplified by relatively cheap rates for home loans.

“Although rising costs for construction materials remain a key headwind, the homebuilding sector still has room for further growth,” said Priscilla Thiagamoorthy, an economist at BMO, in a commentary. “As many Americans continue working from home, demand for ‘more house’ remains strong amid still-low borrowing costs. Meantime, super-low inventory in the resale market has kept homebuilder confidence near record high.”