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Building permits down, housing starts up in November

Home construction rose in November.

Home construction rose in November.

Home construction saw a slight increase in November, but building permits decreased, according to the Commerce Department.

Housing starts increased3.9 percent over the month, as builders started construction on homes at an annual rate of 555,000 units in November. Although the gain is some good news for homebuyers planning on moving into a new home, the pace of housing starts remains just 16 percent above the 477,000 figure from April 2009 - the lowest level since 1959. Single-family home starts accounted for most of the building activity, as they occurred at a rate of 465,000 units, a 6.9 percent jump from October.

As for what to expect from future demand, housing permits dropped 4 percent to a rate of 530,000, which signified the lowest level since April 2009, says the Commerce Department. This is attributed to struggling apartment construction levels for the month, an area of the market that saw a 9.1 percent decrease. Overall privately-owned and single-family housing completions both saw double-digit percentage drops in November, down 14.1 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively.

Builders are expecting lower than average sales for new homes in December because of the overall state of the economy and the large quantity of foreclosed homes that challenge newer houses for sale in the market, says National Association of Home Builders chairman Bob Jones.