U.S. homebuilding surges as coronavirus sparks flight to suburbs

By: Fox Business

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U.S. homebuilding increased by the most in nearly four years in June amid reports of rising demand for housing in suburbs and rural areas as companies allow employees flexibility to work from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Housing starts increased 17.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.186 million units last month, the Commerce Department said on Friday. The percentage increase was the largest since October 2016. Data for May was revised up to a 1.011 million-unit pace from the previously reported 974,000.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast starts increasing to a rate of 1.169 million units.

Permits for future homebuilding rose 2.1% to a rate of 1.241 million units last month. Single-family building permits increased 11.8% to a rate of 834,000 units last month. But permits for multi-family units dropped 13.4% to a rate of 407,000 units.