Last month, as builders began construction on more houses throughout the United States, the number of permits for future construction rose by 4.6% to its highest level since June of 2008. Since building permits are a signal for future construction, experts believe that this gain in building permits signals a sustained housing rebound that will give a significant boost to our country’s economic growth.

According to the Commerce Department, builders broke ground on 917,000 new homes in January, which was actually higher than initially estimated. Then in February, new construction rose even more and building permits rose to 946,000, the highest level in almost five years!

In 2012, advances in residential construction contributed to US economic growth for the first time in seven years. This year, residential construction is predicted to give our country an even greater boost.

Residential construction improves property values, which in turn helps restore consumer confidence. It also benefits builders and home-improvement retailers, offsetting some of the damage from government cutbacks.

“We’re optimistic about the housing recovery,” said Anika Khan, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC. “We’ll continue to see construction pick up. Housing continues to be a bright spot for the economy.”

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