U.S. home construction bodes well for landscaping market

While generally upbeat, home builders say they’re worried about the costs of labor and lots.While generally upbeat, home builders say they’re worried about the costs of labor and lots.

The start of construction on homes in the United States rebounded in November with gains in both single-family and apartment construction.

Following a down October, home starts were up 10.5 percent to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.173 million in November, according to preliminary data from the Commerce Department. The total is 16.5 percent above the November 2014 mark.

The new data also revised October’s total from the previously reported 1.060 million to 1.062 million.

Single-family home starts were up 7.6 percent in November to a rate of 768,000 and are up 14.6 percent year over year.

Apartment starts rose 18.1 percent to 398,000 last month and are now up 21.3 percent year over year.

Building permits, a good barometer of how the homebuilding industry is trending, rose during November by 11 percent to 1.161 million. Permits are up 19.5 percent compared with November 2014.

Meanwhile, despite the big November gains, homebuilder confidence has dropped for a second month in a row. The December National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index fell 1 point to 61. Any reading above a 50 indicates most home builders believe market conditions are good.

NAHB Chairman Tom Woods said in a statement that while builders are optimistic, they continue to voice concern over the increasing cost of labor and lots.

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