Housing starts up 2.6% in April as permits fall 7% – MarketWatch


WASHINGTON — Construction on new US homes rose 2.6 percent in April to an annual rate of 717,000 units, while building permits fell seven percent to 715,000 — one month after reaching a near four-year high, the government reported Wednesday.

Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected housing starts in April to rise to a total 690,000 on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Housing starts in March were revised up sharply to 699,000 from 654,000, while permits were revised up to 769,000 — the highest level since September 2008 — from an original reading of 747,000.

In April, permits for single-family homes, which account for three-quarters of the housing market, edged up 1.9 percent to an annual rate of 475,000. Permits for new construction are viewed as a gauge of future demand.

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