U.S. Home Building Surges

U.S. homebuilding and permits surged in December as historically low mortgage rates supported the housing market, says the Commerce Department. However, but momentum could slow amid surging lumber prices and a shortage of labour, it says. Housing starts jumped 5.8 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.669 million units last month. Home building increased 5.2 per cent on a year-on-year basis. Starts totaled 1.380 million in 2020, up seven per cent from 2019. Permits for future homebuilding rose 4.5 per cent to a rate of 1.709 million units in December. Permits, which typically lead starts by one to two months, totaled 1.452 million last year, a 4.8 per cent increase from 2019. Single-family homebuilding, the largest share of the housing market, soared 12 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.338 million units. Single-family starts have increased for eight straight months.