Housing starts rose in November 2011

December 20th, 2011

A 9.3 percent increase in home construction from October to November 2011 is largely due to gains in multifamily housing. Privately owned housing starts increased from October's seasonally adjusted rate of 627,000 to 685,000 in November, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Housing starts in November were up by 24.3 percent higher over November 2010. Building permits in November rose 5.7 percent from a month earlier and 20.7 percent from a year earlier.

Home builders are confident

Meanwhile, home builder confidence rose 2 points to 21 points in December, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). HMI rose for the third month in a row and was at the highest point since May 2010.

"While builder confidence remains low, the consistent gains registered over the past several months are an indication that pockets of recovery are slowly starting to emerge in scattered housing markets," Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, said in a statement. "However, the difficulties that both builders and buyers continue to experience in accessing credit for new homes are holding back potential sales even in areas where economic conditions are improving."

NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said, "While large inventories of foreclosed properties continue to plague the most distressed markets and consumer worries about job security and the challenges of selling an existing home remain significant factors, builders are reporting more inquiries and more interest among potential buyers than they have seen in previous months."

Mortgage calculators can help

Use a free mortgage calculator to determine if you are ready to buy a new home. Home builders usually offer financing through a "preferred" lender, but it's smart to get mortgage quotes from several lenders. The compare loans calculator allows you to line up different deals next to each other to find the best one. Make sure you are factoring any home builder incentives into your evaluation to get the best comparison.

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