Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

New home construction surges 41%

By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- New home construction skyrocketed 40.9% in April compared to last year, according to a government report released Tuesday.

Housing starts increased to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 672,000 last month, the Commerce Department said. That was a 5.8% rise over March 2010.

Economists were expecting housing starts to jump to 655,000.

New construction of single-family homes, the key sector of the housing market, rose 10.2% over the month to an annual rate of 593,000.

New construction of multi-family homes -- buildings with 5 or more units -- was 68,000.

April was the last month in which sales to first-time home buyers could qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $8,000. Earlier this year lawmakers extended the deadline through April 30 and added a new credit of up to $6,500 for some existing home owners who move.

"The increase in demand prompted by the tax credit has lifted construction," wrote Ian Shepherdson, economist at High Frequency Economics, in a research note.

"But the expiration of the credit ... has made homebuilders wary about continuing to add new homes during the summer," he said.

Building permits: That's probably why applications for building permits, a gauge of future construction activity, sank in April. Permits fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 606,000 last month, down 11.5% from a revised 685,000 in March.

Economists were expecting 680,000 permits. But despite this month's sharp drop, permits were still up 15.9% from April 2009.

"In the near-term the drop in permits clearly signals falling starts ahead," Shepherdson wrote. To top of page

Search for Jobs

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,873.22 44.93 0.25%
Nasdaq 4,933.51 31.74 0.65%
S&P 500 2,099.06 8.96 0.43%
Treasuries 1.85 0.03 1.54%
Data as of 10:45pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 14.88 0.18 1.22%
Coca-Cola Enterprise... 51.55 0.69 1.36%
Baxalta Inc 45.53 -0.17 -0.37%
Apple Inc 100.35 -0.06 -0.06%
Micron Technology In... 12.31 0.36 3.01%
Data as of May 27
Sponsors

Sections

Unionized Verizon workers who had been striking since mid-April will return back to work on June 1 after negotiating a healthy pay raise and bonus. More

Janet Yellen hinted again Friday that a June or July interest rate hike is a very real possibility. More

The FBI has opened a national security investigation into the hacking of Bangladesh's central bank amid signs that the hack might have come from North Korea. More

The gender pay gap in the labor market is pretty well documented. But the gender gap also exists in the housing market. More