U.S. Housing Starts Show Surprise Rebound

Increased 2.5%

U.S. new home construction showed a surprise rebound in April, rising 2.5%, according to government data released May 16 that defied predictions of a deeper slide in the real estate market. The Commerce Department said housing starts increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.528 million, well ahead of Wall Street forecasts for a drop to 1.480 million.

The pace remains 16.1% below the rate of a year ago, reflecting the sharp downturn in the once-sizzling property market. The report noted that housing permits, which give an indication of future housing starts, plunged 8.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.429 million units in April. That compared with expectations of a pace of 1.520 million.It was the sharpest monthly drop since February 1990 and left permits at their lowest level since June 1997.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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