US Housing Construction Surged in September

Posted October 17th, 2012 at 11:40 am (UTC-5)
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The U.S. says home construction surged in September to its highest level in four years, perhaps signaling that the country's moribund housing industry is headed toward recovery.

The government said Wednesday housing starts jumped 15 percent last month, to an annual rate of 872,000, the most since July 2008.

The U.S. housing industry — an important segment of the world's largest economy — has only slowly regained strength from the depths of the recession in 2008 and 2009, the country's worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s. As millions of American workers were laid off from their jobs, many also lost their homes in bank foreclosures when they could no longer make monthly loan payments.

With a glut of foreclosed houses for sale, new home construction fell sharply in the U.S., down to a low of 478,000 in early 2009. Even with the September surge, the construction rate is still well below the five-decade average production of about 1.5 million new homes annually.

The state of the U.S. economy is the focal issue of the presidential election campaign. The Democratic incumbent, U.S. President Barack Obama, and his Republican challenger, wealthy businessman Mitt Romney, traded sharp barbs in their Tuesday night debate about who could boost the country's economic fortunes more over the next four years.