Flurry of housing starts in January

Shovel-ready housing projects increased last month.Construction projects for single-family housing units across the country were up noticeably in January, especially when compared to the same period last year.According to the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development, housing starts in the month of January totaled a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 890,000 units?nearly 24 percent ahead of last year's pace over the same period.Building permits were similarly robust, more than 35 percent in front of January 2012's total.Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Realtors, indicated that this comes as good news both for prospective homeowners and builders who've been out of work.”Steady demand for new homes is prompting builders to put more construction crews back to work in order to replenish thin supplies of completed product,” said Judson.Nowhere is this more evident than in the Houston real estate scene. Due to heightened demand, the city's housing inventory rate is 3.6 months, down from 5.7 months in January 2012 – a decline of 36 percent.
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