The Big Story Blog

National housing start jump a good construction sign?

Posted at 8:43 AM on December 20, 2011 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Housing and mortgages

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The construction business in Minnesota and the U.S. has been decimated in the four years since the Great Recession officially began.

Minnesota's lost nearly 30,000 construction jobs in those four years -- one of every four construction jobs that existed here at the start of the recession is gone.

A huge drop in new construction drove that grim data. Like other states, Minnesota's new housing market became overbuilt and then collapsed as the real estate bubble burst and then then worst recession in decades hit.

This morning, though, there's a little good news on the national front. Bloomberg reports:

Builders broke ground in November on the most houses in over a year, led by a three-year high on work in multifamily units, a sign the market is stabilizing heading into 2012.

Starts increased 9.3 percent to a 685,000 annual rate, exceeding the highest estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and the highest level since April 2010.
It's still shaping up to be one of the worst years in history for home builders.

Last month it claimed Rottlund homes, one of the Twin Cities' biggest home builders. The most recent official state economic forecast warned a deeper downturn in housing construction could threaten Minnesota's fragile economic recovery.

Today's data, though, offers some hope for 2012.

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About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.