US housing starts rise, building permits down
The Commerce Department has revealed a rise in US housing starts for the month of September, but building permits fell, giving mixed signals for the property market.
According to the Commerce Department, construction of new US homes rose 0.3% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 610,000 units – the highest level since April and ahead of expectations of 580,000 units.
Meanwhile, August starts were revised upwards to 608,000 units from the previously reported rate of 598,000 units.
On an annual basis, housing starts were 4.1% higher in September.
In the meantime, applications for building permits, a barometer of future home construction, fell 5.6% to 593,000 units, this follows a 2.1% rise in August.
According to the Commerce Department, the fall in permits was due to a 20% slump in multi-family units. Permits for single-family homes rose 0.5% in September.
The figures have led economists to call for a fresh round of stimulus, by way of the quantitative easing scheme.
US central bank, the Federal Reserve, is likely to take measures to stimulate the economy and details are expected at the next meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, which takes place on 2-3 November.