July U.S. Housing Starts Surge

U.S. housing starts surged by more than expected in July, boosted by pent-up demand from the coronavirus pandemic and low mortgage rates, says the Commerce Department. Privately owned housing starts in July were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.5 million, a 22.6 per cent increase from the revised June estimate of 1.22 million, the largest jump since October 2016. The July number also smashed economist forecasts for a 1.25 million annualized rate, a roughly 2.5 per cent increase from June. Custom home building in the U.S. outperformed the overall building market in the second quarter of 2020, says the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Custom home building starts dropped only by six per cent while single-family housing starts were down 11 per cent. Total starts hit 45,000, down from 48,000 in the second quarter of 2019. Custom housing ??? homes with custom work not intended for sale ??? increased by five per cent compared to the prior four-year quarter total.