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Housing recovery sputters

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Friday, May 17, 2013
Posted: 3 pm ET

Housing starts fell more than analysts expected in April, contributing to a mixed bag of economic and housing news.

Last month's 853,000-unit annual rate is a 16.5 percent drop from housing starts the month before and below the 945,000-unit annual rate analysts had predicted, according to the Department of Commerce.

Since the beginning of the year, housing has recovered enough that it is helping to boost the economy overall. The economic recovery suffered a setback last week when jobless claims rose at the fastest pace in six months, according to the Labor Department. It also reported that the consumer price index fell 0.4 percent, the biggest drop since December 2008.

But the housing news isn't all bad: The future for home construction is still on an upswing. Building permits rose 14.3 percent from March to April, to an annual rate of 1.017 million. That's the highest rate since June 2008. Single-family home permits rose 3 percent, the highest since May 2008.

A report from Realtor.com shows increased buyer activity and interest as the traditional season for home sales gets underway. Nationwide, listing prices of for-sale homes increased 2.63 percent from March to April, inventory increased by 4.12 percent for the month, and days on the market decreased by almost 11 percent from a year earlier.

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