Building permits and new housing starts data was released for the US yesterday which showed stronger than expected readings. For November, building permits amounted to 1.07 million units on an annualized basis (est. 990k) while new housing starts came in at an annualized rate of 1.091 million units (est. 955k). <p>

The strength in the building permits bodes well entering 2014 and the new housing starts match NAHB sentiment that has been moved up to multi-year highs. <p>

It does remain unusual for housing starts and the NAHB indices to be moving to recent high levels while mortgage application levels remain very low. It may be explained by higher levels of cash buyers or that house builders are optimistic of an improvement in the US economy and are building in anticipation of an improvement in mortgage demand.
<p><h5>David Holohan</h5>


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