Housing starts rose 3.9 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 555,000 units from an upwardly revised number in the previous month, according to newly released data from the U.S. Commerce Department. This marked the first upward movement in new-home production since August, and was attributable to a nearly 7 percent gain in single-family home building, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

“Builders are very cautiously adding to their diminished inventories in preparation for the spring buying season and an anticipated modest revival in buyer demand when the economy shows more signs of improvement,” says Bob Jones, chairman of the NAHB and a homebuilder from Bloomfield Hills, Mich. “That said, we are still looking at a very low level of housing production, due largely to builders’ inability to obtain construction financing.”

The 3.9 percent gain in overall housing starts this November was due to a 6.9 percent increase to a 465,000 unit seasonally adjusted annual rate of new-home production on the single-family side. Meanwhile, multi-family housing starts declined 9.1 percent to a 90,000-unit rate.

Regionally, starts activity showed gains in all but one part of the country in November. The Midwest, South and West each posted gains, of 15.8 percent, 2.3 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively, while the Northeast posted a 2.5 percent decline.

NAHB also reported that builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes remained unchanged in December from the previous month at 16 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released last week.

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