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Housing Starts Soared in July - Homebuilder Stocks Advance

Housing starts soared in July. Americans are leaving cities for suburbs and rural areas that they consider safer from the covid-19 pandemic.

The housing market continued to sizzle amid the pandemic: U.S. housing starts soared 22.6% in July from June and 23.4% from July 2019.

The numbers reflect the decisions by many Americans to leave cities for suburbs and rural areas that they consider safer from the coronavirus pandemic.

And investors liked the numbers, pushing up homebuilder stocks.

Housing starts came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.496 million units last month, up from a revised 1.2-million-unit pace in June. June was originally tabbed at 1.186 million units.

Economists polled by Reuters forecast that July starts would total 1.24 million units.

Housing permits in July continued to percolate, too, climbing 18.8% from June and 9.4% from July 2019.

“The economic rebound continues,” Kathy Jones, chief income strategist at Schwab, wrote on Twitter. 

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“Housing starts and permits at 1.5 million: well above expectations. People are moving and household formation picking up. Those are good signs.”

The biggest homebuilder ETF, iShares US Home Construction  (ITB) - Get iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF Report, at last check rose 0.7% to $56.05. It jumped 25% year to date through Monday.

As for individual homebuilder stocks, at last check:

D.R. Horton  (DHI) - Get D.R. Horton, Inc. Report shares were at $73.76, up 0.6%. They have rise 39% year to date; 

Lennar  (LEN) - Get Lennar Corporation Class A Report shares were at $78.06, up 1.3%. They have jumped 38% year to date; 

NVR  (NVR) - Get NVR, Inc. Report shares were at $4,195, up 1.2%. They have gained 9% year to date, and

Toll Brothers  (TOL) - Get Toll Brothers, Inc. Report shares were at $43.13, up 2.3%. They've added 6.7% year to date.

Morningstar analyst Brian Bernand wrote in a commentary last month that “D.R. Horton delivered an excellent fiscal-third-quarter performance, which we view as more proof that housing market fundamentals in the United States have remained strong despite the coronavirus pandemic.”