U.S. Housing Starts Surged in June

Construction of new homes in the U.S. increased sharply in June as the country continued to reopen, data from the Commerce Department showed Friday. Here are the main takeaways from the report:

--Housing starts, a measure of U.S. homebuilding, rose by 17.3% in June compared with May, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.186 million. This is broadly in line with a Dow Jones Newswires poll of economists, who expected starts to grow by 18.1%, to an annual pace of 1.15 million.

--The current level of starts, which increased for second consecutive month, is well below the February's pre- coronavirus annual rate of 1.57 million, but just 4.0% lower compared with the same month a year earlier.

--In May, housing starts amounted to an upwardly revised 1.011 million from an earlier estimate of 974,000.

--Monthly housing starts data are volatile and are often revised. June's figures came with a margin of error of 11 percentage points.

--Residential permits, which can be a bellwether for future home construction, increased 2.1% in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.241 million. This is below economists' forecasts of a 4.9% increase to an annual pace of 1.28 million.

--June's U.S. housing starts report was in line with the strong increase of the survey of the National Association of Homebuilders, which showed a strong rebound of confidence in the single-family housing market. The index recovered to pre-pandemic levels and more builders viewed the market as good rather than poor for second straight month, data showed.

Write to Xavier Fontdegloria at xavier.fontdegloria@wsj.com

  (END) Dow Jones Newswires
  07-17-20 0902ET
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