Housing starts rise in March

Housing starts rose 7 percent from February to March, according to USA Today. Construction increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.036 million compared with 968,000 in February; this is the first time in more than four years that housing starts have exceeded 1 million.

However, single-family construction starts fell 4.8 percent. And building permit applications, which are viewed as a barometer of future construction, fell 3.9 percent in March to 902,000.

"Clearly, the home building recovery is running into a few snags," says Capital Economics Economist Paul Diggle. "Building material costs are rising; there's a shortage of construction workers; and builders are struggling to find easily developed lots."

Still, housing starts are far above the annual rate of 478,000 in April 2009, which was the recession low. Housing starts also were 46.7 percent higher in March than in March 2012. However, a 1.5 million annual rate still is needed to be considered healthy.

Date : 4/17/2013