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July increase in housing starts tied to improvement in multifamily development

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Construction of multifamily units helped to increase housing starts.
Construction of multifamily units helped to increase housing starts.

Movement of construction equipment led to an increase in the number of housing units started in July, according to a recent report from the federal government.

The U.S. Census Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development noted that privately owned housing starts reached an annual rate of 546,000 in July, which is 1.7 percent higher than levels seen in June.

However, starts on single-family homes were down 4.2 percent, meaning that construction equipment was being focused on multifamily structures.

"Builders are very reluctant to build more homes in view of the current state of the economy and weak buyer demand," said National Association of Home Builders chairman Bob Jones.

David Crowe, chief economist for the NAHB, said that the home market was in a "holding pattern." He also said that builders have seen homebuyers being more reluctant given the current economic conditions.

That would include a high level of unemployment. July posted a jobless rate of 9.5 percent, which was the same level seen the previous month.

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