Housing starts nationwide climbed to their highest level in over a year according to new data. November saw a 3.3 percent increase from October bringing the seasonally adjusted annual rate to 1.297 million units according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had predicted a 3.1 percent decrease for housing starts last month.
The unexpected gains are a result of new single-family home building, which accounts for the largest share of the housing market. In particular, housing starts in both the South and West reached their highest monthly gains since September 2007.
Builders have struggled to meet demand for housing which has risen as the unemployment rate remains near historic lows. Increased costs in materials and labor shortages have hindered new home construction levels from keeping pace.
Today, conforming no-point 30-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 4 percent while 15-year rates are near 3.75 percent.
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