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Housing starts increase in January

Single-family housing starts increased 1.5 percent in January.

Single-family housing starts increased 1.5 percent in January.

Recently released numbers from the U.S. Commerce Department showed housing starts increased 1.5 percent from upwardly revised numbers in January.

Nationwide production of new single-family homes and apartments increased 1.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of close to 700,000 units.

"The fact that the three-month moving average for housing starts has now increased for nine consecutive months and is approaching the 700,000 mark for the first time since October of 2008 is indicative of a solid recovery in housing activity stemming from recent firming in employment and consumer confidence measures," said David Crowe, National Association of Home Builders chief economist. "That said, housing production is still far from what would be considered normal in a healthy market, and many challenges remain for home builders in terms of tight credit conditions, difficult appraisals and the continued flow of foreclosed properties on the market - all of which are certainly slowing the pace of improvement in both housing and the overall economy."

This comes after the National Association of Realtors pleaded with the government to repeal proposals that President Barack Obama recently revealed in his budget, which the organization felt would make the average relocation cost more expensive.