Housing Starts Jump to Highest Level Since June 2008

Tickers in this article: ITB XHB
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- New residential construction soared in November to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1.091 million, the highest level since June 2008 and well ahead of market expectations.

Housing starts were up 22.7% in November from the revised October estimate of 889,000, and were up nearly 30% from last year, according to the latest report from the Census Bureau. In September, housing starts came in at 873,000.

The Census Bureau had delayed the data for September and October because of the government shutdown.

While September and October data were in line with the trend in summer, the jump to more than 1 million in November is welcome news, a sign that housing construction might be climbing back toward normal.

Building permits authorizing private residential construction in November were at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1.007 million, down 3.1% from the revised estimate of 1.039 million in October. Permits in October were the highest since June 2008.

Economists polled by Bloomberg expected total housing starts to increase to an annualized rate of 952,000, while building permits for November were expected to come in at 995,000.

The housing starts data seem to reflect rising homebuilder confidence about market conditions. The National Association of Homebuilders/ Wells Fargo Sentiment Index rose 4 points to 58,as builders viewed current and future sales conditions positively.

-- Written by Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York.