December 29, 2012 at 03:00 AM EST
Housing Starts Show Steady Growth reports Greater Austin Homes
(EMAILWIRE.COM, December 29, 2012 ) Austin, TX -- After October saw some of the fastest building expansion within the U.S. In four years, November slowed down, reminding all that the economy is still wary of strong and sustained growth.

The Commerce Department stated that builders had started construction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 861,000. That was a 3% drop from October's annual rate of 888,000, which was the fastest growth since 2008.

The decline still is only a slight drop off from a month of very strong gains. Housing starts continue to remain on track for a strong year, even if the finish is not a continued increase. The housing market does appear to be 'housing' a sustained recovery.

The most encouraging sign, according to experts, is that applications for building permits have increased. Future construction permits rose to just under 900,000 in November. That marks the most since July of 2008.

"Growth in housing starts was extremely strong in the prior three months... so some giveback is not a concern at this point," said Robert Kavcic, an economist at BMO Capital Markets.

Overall housing starts fell over 5% in the Northeast from October to November, while starts in the west fell nearly 20% in the same timeframe. Within the past year, housing starts have been on a 26% decline in the Northeast, which is the only region in the United States to record year-to-year drops.

The slide in construction was fueled by the single-family homes market. Builders started work on 4.1% fewer such homes than in October. To contrast, construction for apartment buildings rose 1.4% in the same time period, driven by rises in renting cost.

Housing starts were up 21.5% in October compared to November of 2011. The totals were far above the annual rate of 478,000 that were noted in April of 2009, and are the lowest numbers during the recession.

Even with some lowered numbers, signs suggest that the housing market is picking up steam. Builder confidence rose during the month of December for the seventh consecutive month, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo.

Sales of previously occupied homes rose by 2.1% in October, while new-home sales fell only slightly in the same month. There numbers indicated the totals were still 17% higher than the last year's October totals.

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