17 Apr 2010

New houses in US at 16-month high

4:41 pm on 17 April 2010

The number of new houses being built in the United States rose faster in March than expected, taking the construction rate to its highest level in 16 months.

But figures from the Commerce Department also show that the building of new single-family homes fell 0.9% to 531,000 when annualised.

The BBC reports that the data is a key indicator of economic activity and that single-family building is the most closely watched segment.

Overall, 626,000 new houses were built in the last 12 months.

The department also says that applications for building permits, another barometer of activity, rose by a better-than-expected 7.5% to 685,000.