After a steep drop in February, housing starts bounced back in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 549,000 units — a rise of 7.2 percent over February numbers, according to data from the U.S. Commerce Dept. Building permits were up even higher: 11.2 percent above February to 594,000 annual units.
After experiencing a slight gain in March, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) dropped one point in April to 16 — a mark the HMI has held for five of the last six months, according to the NAHB.
National index shows homeowners continue to spend on remodeling
With an unemployment rate of just 3.7 percent and a low debt-to-income ratio, North Dakota ranks as the state with the healthiest housing markets for 2011, according data from LendingTree. Other states to make the list include Minnesota, Texas, Indiana, and Iowa.
The inventory of homes for sale rose slightly in March in many metropolitan areas across the nation. According to data compiled by ZipRealty, the listing inventory rose 1.1 percent in 23 metropolitan areas between February and March, after decreasing in both January and February.
A new Gallup poll shows that about 60 percent of Americans want to keep the mortgage interest deduction as part of the federal tax code. The poll asked respondents if they would favor eliminating certain tax deductions in order to lower the overall income tax rate or to reduce the federal budget deficit.
Despite the housing bubble and subsequent crash, more than 80 percent of Americans still think buying a home is the best long-term investment a person can make. That's according to a recent Pew Research Center study, which found that 37 percent strongly agreed with that idea and 44 percent somewhat agreed with it.
Houston-based McGuyer Homebuilders (MHI) has acquired the assets of Austin-based Wilshire Homes, giving MHI a stronger presence in the Austin and San Antonio markets. The new entity, called MHI Central Texas, has plans to build more than 600 homes annually throughout Texas by 2014.
Construction employment saw an uptick in February, as 141 out of 337 metropolitan areas had increases in construction jobs compared to one year earlier, according to an analysis of federal employment data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas, had the largest increase in jobs, adding 7,500 (8 percent).
Residential construction spending dropped in February, with home improvement spending leading the decline, after an unexpected increase in January.