Housing starts increased in March

Builders broke ground on more new homes nationwide in March, although the increase missed expectations.

Housing starts climbed 2.8 percent from an upwardly revised February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 946,000, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Economists polled by Bloomberg News called for a rate of 970,000.

The missed expectations come as builder confidence wavers. More builders see the market for new single family homes as poor rather than good, according to a survey from the National Association of Home Builders.

Despite a rapid housing recovery last year, builders have yet to ramp up construction to historically normal levels. Holding them back, they say, is a shortage of ready-to-built lots and skilled labor.

Traffic from prospective buyers has been particularly poor, however.

Part of that is an overhang from winter, and builders expect more robust traffic during the spring home buying season. Still, rapid price surges last year have hampered demand as well. With income growth still meager, buyers have struggled to adjust.

Many economists blamed severe weather for much of the poor construction numbers in recent months.

In March, starts rose 65.5 percent in the Midwest and 30.7 percent in the Northeast, two areas that had been crippled by winter weather. Starts fell in the South and the West, a major home-building region largely spared the harsh winter.

March’s construction gains came on a 6 percent rise in single family home starts nationwide, a less volatile sector than multifamily construction.

Building permits, a gauge of future construction, fell 2.4 percent from February.

More in Herald Business Journal

Peoples, HomeStreet banks bump lowest salaries after tax cut

The banks with Snohomish County branches will raise minimum salaries for employees to $15 an hour.

Electroimpact cuts Mukilteo staff by 9 percent

“What we’re missing now is a monster anchor project,” the company’s VP said.

Exotic animals find compassionate care in Bothell (video)

At the Center for Bird and Exotic Animal Medicine, vets treat snakes, hedgehogs and even kangaroos.

How can you tell if you are getting good financial advice?

Assume that it’s still the same buyer-beware market that has always existed.

Amanda Strong (left) tries on an Angel of the Winds Arena hat as she and Courtney Brown hand out gift bags after the renaming ceremony Dec. 13 in Everett. The new name replaces the Xfinity name. (Andy Bronson / Her file)
Angel of the Winds to break ground on $60M casino expansion

“We think we’re on the cusp of becoming a major resort.”

In this Dec. 20, 2017, photo, a clerk reaches to a shelf to pick an item for a customer order at the Amazon Prime warehouse, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
Amazon’s potential HQ2 sites leaves many cities disappointed

And yet, some municipal leaders are looking at the bright side of being rejected.

How do you retrieve an errant Boeing 737 from a muddy slope?

Turkish authorities used cranes to lift a plane that skidded off a runway.

Don’t take economic forecasts to the bank — or the casino

Air travel delays could spur a rebirth of passenger rail service.

Emirates orders 20 more Airbus A380 jumbos, saving program

The Dubai carrier also has options to buy 16 more. The program seems safe until 2029.

Most Read