Saturday, 17 April 2010

US housing starts rise, consumer sentiment falls

There have been more indications recently that US housing is stabilising. From Bloomberg on Friday:

Builders broke ground on more U.S. homes in March than anticipated and took out permits at the fastest pace in more than a year, a sign the weakest part of the economy has stabilized.

Housing starts climbed to an annual rate of 626,000 last month, up 1.6 percent from February’s 616,000 pace, the Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. Building permits, a sign of future construction, climbed to the highest level since October 2008...

A report yesterday showed builder confidence rose this month more than anticipated as a measure of single-family sales reached the highest level in two years. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index rose to 19 from 15 in March. Even though the gauge reached the highest level since March 2008, a reading below 50 means a majority of respondents said conditions remained poor.

However, consumer sentiment deteriorated in April.

The Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment unexpectedly dropped to 69.5 this month from a final reading of 73.6 in March. The gauge was projected to rise to 75, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 69 economists.

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