Has the Housing Recovery Arrived?

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development released residential construction numbers for October on Tuesday. Data show that housing starts have hit a four-year high, building on a series of good news coming out of the housing sector.Housing

Privately-owned housing starts climbed 3.6 percent month-over-month to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 894,000, a 41.9 percent increase over the rate for October 2011. Housing completions grew 14.5 percent month-over-month and 33.6 percent year-over-year to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 772,000.

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Strong housing starts follow a National Association of Home Builders report released on Monday that showed builder confidence at its highest level since May 2006. The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index grew five points to 46 on the scale between zero and 100. Comments by NAHB chairman Barry Rutenberg echo broad sentiment that the housing market is showing strength.

“Builders are reporting an increasing demand for new homes as inventories of foreclosed and distressed properties begin to shrink in markets across the country,” he said in the report. Distressed home sales accounted for a 0.3 percent decline in home prices from August to September, a blemish on seven consecutive months of year-over-year increases.