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April 19, 2011    

US housing starts pick up, permits down

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by Kay Murchie
US housing starts pick up, permits down

The Commerce Department has today revealed US housing starts picked up in March but the recovery remains a long way off, according to analysts.

Housing starts increased 7.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 549,000 units, while February’s figure was revised upwards to 512,000.

In the meantime, applications for building permits, a barometer of future home construction, rose by 11.2% on an annual basis – however, this represented the lowest number of permits since 1963.

Demand for houses in the US continues to be weak with potential buyers struggling to obtain mortgages.

Furthermore, the housing market is weak due to a glut of unsold and repossessed properties.

Today’s data highlights the fragility of the housing market with many suggesting it is holding back the recovery of the world’s largest economy.

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