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Housing starts slow, but more people plan to build

The number of people starting to build homes in the Midwest fell 13.3 percent from April to May, according to numbers released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. 

New home starts in the Midwest decreased at a faster pace than the national average, which dropped 4.8 percent. 

Economists predicted that the housing starts rate would drop, but not as much as it did. 

People are planning to build more, though. Building permits in May were at the highest point they have been nationally since September 2008, before the financial crisis.

“We saw a very strong number in new permits, indicating builders are seeing improving demand,” said Russell Price, senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Inc., in an interview with Bloomberg. “(It) was a lot better than the headline number would suggest.”

In the Midwest, the number of people approved to build new privately owned housing units rose 15.7 percent. Nationally, they were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 780,000, an increase of 7.9 percent.

Although housing starts dropped from April to May, housing starts have risen 28.5 percent since the same time last year. 

Yesterday, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index of homebuilder confidence rose one point, to a five-year high of 29. The increase in confidence and building permits data caused the stock market to drive upward in early trading Tuesday morning. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 60 points

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