Builders requested the highest number of permits in March to develop single family homes and apartments in 3 1/2 years. Many believe that this is a good sign for the housing market. A separate report released by the Federal Reserve said that factory production actually dropped 0.2 percent last month, but manufacturing output for the first three months of this year rose to an annual rate of 10.4 percent.
According to the report, for the second straight month industrial production remained stagnant in March. “The slowdown in manufacturing is something to watch given how fast production had been growing, a pause that refreshes is not a surprise,” said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors.
According to the Commerce Department, building permit requests rose 4.5 percent to an annual rate of 747,000 in March. Jonathan Basile, director of economics at Credit Suisse believes that more permits is a positive sign regarding overall economic activity, which should lead to an increase in construction. The rate of permit requests still remains about half of what is considered healthy and many economists hold that the housing market has a long road ahead before it is considered healthy.