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Housing Starts Rose 17% in June, in Line With Estimates

Housing starts rose 17% in June from May, in line with estimates, while homebuilding permits gained 2.1%.

Homebuilder shares rose Friday as housing starts rose 17% in June from May to a 1.19 million seasonally adjusted annual rate, in line with analysts' estimates.

The MarketWatch economist consensus called for 1.2 million housing starts

To be sure, housing starts slid 4% from June 2019.

In addition, homebuilding permits gained 2.1% in June from May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.24 million. The MarketWatch survey called for 1.3 million building permits.

Permits dipped 2.5% from June 2019.

Meanwhile, the average 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 2.98% in the week through Thursday, according to mortgage-finance agency Freddie Mac. That's the lowest reading in the agency's 50 years of tabulating the data.

This represents the third straight week and the seventh week this year that the rate on the most popular U.S. home loan has hit a record low.

That reflects, of course, the plunge in bond yields amid the coronavirus pandemic and the Federal Reserve’s reduction of the federal funds rate to a minuscule zero to 0.25%.

The 10-year Treasury yield hit an all-time nadir of 0.3% in March and now stands at 0.61%, down from 2.12% a year earlier.

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“Just looking at the housing sector itself, it looks to be a V-shaped recovery,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, told reporters last month. “For the rest of the economy, it may not be a V-shape.”

The iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF  (ITB) - Get Report, which includes major homebuilders, recently traded at $48.65, up 1.7%. The ETF has climbed 8% year to date through Thursday.

Among individual companies, at last check:

D.R. Horton  (DHI) - Get Report was up 1.3% at $63.36.

PulteGroup  (PHM) - Get Report added 2.4% to $37.62.

Lennar  (LEN) - Get Report tacked on 1.9% to $71.13.

Toll Brothers  (TOL) - Get Report rose 1.4% to $36.16.

NVR  (NVR) - Get Report climbed 0.6% to $3,366.61.