The Commerce Department reports housing starts increased 0.8% last month to a 17,000-unit annual rate, slightly better than expectations of 915,000. Permits for construction jumped 4.6% to a 946,000-unit rate, also coming in ahead of estimates of 925,000. Both readings were the highest since June 2008. More.
“Contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes unexpectedly fell in December after three months of gains, an industry group said on Monday, but the housing market recovery remains intact.
The National Association of Realtors said its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed last month, dropped 4.3 percent to 101.7.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected signed contracts, which become sales after a month or two, to rise 0.3 percent after a previously reported 1.7 percent increase in November.
The drop in contracts, which the Realtors group blamed on the tightening stock of homes, suggested resales could fall again in January after slipping in December…”