The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that residential building permits increased 3.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 899,000 units, which is the highest number since July 2008.
"There is an upward grind in housing. That sector should probably add a bit to growth in a pretty sluggish environment next year," Cary Leahey, an economist at Decision Economics in New York, told Reuters.
Nationally and in Greater Des Moines, home building - from construction, to sales, to prices - is improving. All are indications that the housing market is regaining some footing after a historic collapse that pushed the economy into its worst recession since the Great Depression, Reuters reported.
Locally, building permits and home sales both have been improving since late summer with home sales expected to surpass 9,000 this year. And an Iowa Department of Revenue report last month showed that growth in home construction and Iowa's stock market index were key indicators of the state's improving economy.
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