Housing Starts Soar, Giving Builders New Hope

The Associated Press
housing starts
housing starts

WASHINGTON -- A surge in apartment construction gave homebuilders more work in November. And permits, a gauge of future construction, rose 5.7 percent, spurred by a jump in apartment permits.

The 16 percent rise in permits provides hope for the housing market, though 2011 is still shaping up as one of the worst years in history for homebuilders.

The Commerce Department says builders broke ground on a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 685,000 homes last month, a 9.3 percent jump from October. It's the highest level since April 2010. Still, the rate is far below the 1.2 million homes that economists say would be built each year in a healthy housing market.