UtahCribs Weblog

Real Estate, Homes, News, Statistics and more

U.S. Housing Starts Surge!

Posted by spencerjanke on March 17, 2009


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – New U.S. housing starts and permits unexpectedly rebounded in February, according to data on Tuesday that provided a rare dose of good news for the recession-hit economy and fractured housing market.

The Commerce Department said housing starts jumped 22.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 583,000 units from 477,000 units in January. That was the biggest percentage rise since January 1990 and also marked the first increase since last April.

“That is an encouraging sign for the U.S. economy. It is good signal of what is to come. With the rally in equities we hopefully have seen a bottom for the economy here,” said Matt Esteve, foreign exchange trader at Tempus Consulting in Washington.


New building permits, which give a sense of future home construction, rose 3.0 percent to 547,000 units, from 531,000 units in January. That also marked the first advance in permits since April last year.

Compared to the same period in 2008, housing starts were down 47.3 percent in February and permits declined 44.2 percent. Completions rose 2.3 percent to a rate of 785,000 from January’s 767,000.



The housing market is at the center of the financial and economic meltdown and bringing some measure of stability to the sector is crucial to rescuing the economy.

Collapsing house and stock market values are a drag on consumer spending, which accounts for over a third of economic activity.

Finally some good news in the Real Estate industry. We continually get people being negative about Real Estate here in Utah. We understand a lot of the problems that we currently have right now were spurred by the real estate bubble. There is no arguing that point. However, I think most of us all understand that our entire economy is intertwined between different sectors of the market. Real Estate tanks and so does the rest of the country.  A little good news is going to go a long way, hopefully the goal is some stabilization within the markets? 

Salt Lake Valley Stats – Conclusion, FEBRUARY saw a 62% increase in undercontracts every 5 days compared to the low of the market in NOV/DEC 08. During the same time Salt Lake inventory remained about the same. This means we are cleaning out inventory almost twice as fast as we were 8 weeks ago. At this rate it would take roughly 8 months to clean out all the inventory. As a comparison in the HOT market of Salt lake 2006 we had about a 3 month supply of inventory. What does this mean? We have been saying this for about 3 months now, we saw the under contract properties increase, we knew they would start closing soon, and that would translate into good news. For the nations sake, we want good real estate news. This will help our over all economy. I say keep the positive news coming, it will help the DOW mark my word!

Spencer Janke


2 Responses to “U.S. Housing Starts Surge!”

  1. Brad Miles said

    Nice post Spence. Great article that truly explains what has been happening the past couple months in the real estate markets. The Utah Cribs team has been as busy as ever showing buyers properties and helping sellers figure out what their home is worth. Hopefully more buyers will understand that this is a great time to buy and take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit and the $6,000 grant from the state of Utah to help them purchase a property.

    Just to give you an idea of how quickly these incentives can add up, I have been showing houses to a client and I found a build job for her. If she does it she will potentially have $19,000 in incentives because of the $8,000 tax credit, the $6,000 grant and then the builder is going to pay $5,000 towards her closing costs. Combine that with historically low interest rates and it will end up being a really good deal for her.

  2. Richard Janke said

    Spencer and Jake are always up to date with the lastest real estate information. I am constantly going to them with my clients because I know they will be professional and steer my clients in the right direction.

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