U.S. single-family homebuilding and permits surged to more than 10-year highs in November, in a hopeful sign for a housing market that has been hobbled by supply constraints.
Builders have struggled to meet robust demand for housing, which is being fueled by a labor market near full employment. Land and skilled labor have been in short supply, while lumber price increases have accelerated.
The Commerce Department said on Tuesday that single-family homebuilding, which accounts for the largest share of the housing market, jumped 5.3 percent to a rate of 930,000 units. That was the highest level since September 2007.
Pointing to further gains, single-family home permits rose 1.4 percent to a pace of 862,000 units, a level not seen since August 2007. The jump in groundbreaking on single-family housing units suggests housing could contribute to gross domestic product in the fourth quarter.
Investment in residential construction has declined for two straight quarters, weighing on economic growth. A survey on Monday showed confidence among homebuilders soaring to near an 18-1/2-year high in December, amid optimism over buyer traffic and sales over the next six months.
Last month, single-family home construction in the densely-populated South shot up 8.4 percent to the highest level since July 2007 as disruptions from recent hurricanes continued to fade and communities in the region replaced houses damaged by flooding.