"Construction of new homes posted the biggest increase in more than two years in April, a rare spot of good news amid the worst downturn in housing in more than two decades.This is good! Now some of those who were forced out of old apartments for condo conversions will have a nice shiny new apartment to live in.
The Commerce Department reported Friday that housing construction rose by 8.2 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.03 million units. Building of single-family homes continued to weaken, however. The growth came from a big jump in apartment construction".
"By region of the country, construction posted the largest gain in the Midwest, an increase of 24.4 percent when compared to March. Construction rose 18.5 percent in the West and was up 3.6 percent in the South. However, construction fell by 12.7 percent in the Northeast.Also in Friday's news:
Even with the improvement, housing construction nationwide was 30.6 percent below the level of activity a year ago".
"Fannie Mae, the nation's largest source of home financing, said on Friday it is lowering the amount of down payments required on mortgages it purchases, even in areas where home prices are falling.
Starting on June 1, the new requirements of 3 percent or 5 percent, which replace rules set in December, will apply nationally to loans on single-family primary residences, it said".