Positive news on home construction?
Here's some potentially good news from Purchasing magazine: David Crowe, chief economist and senior vice president for the National Association of Home Builders, says an increase in the number of U.S. building permits in February could be a signal that home construction is near the bottom and could recover in the second half of the year. The report said that building permits increased 3 percent, which Crowe says is the first significant rise in three years. Single-family-housing permits were up 11 percent. "That's where the focus should be [on building permits]," Crowe told the magazine. "It's only one-month's data and we need more evidence, but it's cautiously encouraging." Perhaps some of the credit goes to the $8,000 tax credit for first-time buyers in the recently adopted stimulus package. A news release from NAHB on the February numbers is a bit less positive, quoting Chairman Joe Robson: "Builders did pull a larger volume of single-family permits in February, suggesting a glimmer of hope for the prime home buying season, which is near at hand. That said, we realize there's a need to be extremely cautious in terms of new building activity going forward, because there's still quite a lot of inventory out there that needs to be absorbed as foreclosures continue to flood the market in many areas.”
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