clear
Thursday September 3rd, 2015 4:53AM

Homebuilding dips, but year best since '07

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. home construction slowed in December but ended 2013 with the best showing since the housing bubble burst.

The Commerce Department said Friday that builders broke ground last month at a seasonally annual rate of 999,000. That's 9.8 percent lower than November's pace of 1.12 million, which was the fastest in five years.

For the year, builders started 923,000 homes and apartments, up 18.3 percent from 2012. It was the fourth straight annual gain and the strongest since 2007, when 1.36 million homes were started.

The housing market has been recovering steadily over the past year, helping to boost economic growth and create jobs. But a rise in mortgage rates from record lows reached a year ago have started to weigh on those gains.

For December, construction of single-family homes, which makes up roughly two-thirds of homebuilding, fell 7 percent to an annual rate of 667,000. Construction of apartments, which can be more volatile, dropped 14.9 percent to a 332,000 rate.

Applications for building permits, considered a good sign of future activity, fell 3 percent in December to a rate of 986,000. Single-family permits fell 4.8 percent. Permits for apartments were unchanged.

Construction activity in December fell 33.5 percent in the Midwest and 12.3 percent in the South. Construction rose 15 percent in the West and was unchanged in the Northeast.

Mortgage rates are roughly a percentage point higher than in the spring. Still, they remain low by historical standards. The average rate on a 30-year mortgage fell to 4.41 percent this week. That's down from a peak of 4.6 percent in August.

U.S. homebuilders remain generally upbeat ahead of the spring home-buying season.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index slipped to 56 in January, down slightly from a 57 reading in December. Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good rather than poor. Even with the small dip, the overall index remains in positive territory and is nine points higher than it was a year ago.

The spring buying and selling season kicks off next month, traditionally the time of the year that sets the tone for residential hiring and construction. Many builders, particularly smaller firms, sell homes that will take months to build.

Though new homes represent only a fraction of the housing market, they have an outsize impact on the economy. Each home built creates an average of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in tax revenue, according to data from the homebuilders association.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 8 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 8 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 8 months ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 8 months ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 8 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 8 months ago )
Maysville man dies from Banks County wreck
The Georgia State Patrol reports that alcohol and/or drugs were factors a single-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a Maysville man in Banks County Tuesday night.
11:07AM ( 8 months ago )
Local/State News
US officials gather on old battleship to mark 70th anniversary of official end to World War II
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) — U.S. officials and veterans gathered on a decommissioned battleship in Pearl Harbor on Wednesday to mark the 70th anniversary of World War II's end."It was not about retrib...
10:50PM ( 6 hours ago )
Higgins to run for Hall County Commission Chair
Former Hall County School Board Chairman Richard Higgins has confirmed he is running for the Hall County Commission.
By AccessWDUN Staff
7:45PM ( 9 hours ago )
Two Hall Co. Christian schools to merge in 2016
Two private Christian schools in Hall County have announced a merger.
By B.J. Williams
5:03PM ( 11 hours ago )
VIDEO: Annual agriculture tour makes three Hall County stops
For the third year in a row, a group of state officials, including the President of the University of Georgia, toured several agricultural interests in the state. Wednesday's Georgia Department of Agriculture and UGA Farm Tour focused on Northeast Georgia.
4:48PM ( 12 hours ago )
Kentucky man identified as victim in Banks Crossing pedestrian accident
A Kentucky man was the victim of a pedestrian accident at Banks Crossing late Tuesday night, according to the Georgia State Patrol.
2:36PM ( 14 hours ago )