Housing

There was a 7 percent surge in housing starts last month, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development report.

As The Associated Press notes, the pace of construction — 1.04 million starts, at an annual rate — is the fastest in nearly five years and is another sign that the housing sector continues to recover from its 2007-08 crash.

There's no way you can compete. When someone is paying less per hour, no workman's comp, no payroll taxes, [no] unemployment — we can't overcome that. - Stan Marek, CEO, Marek Family of Companies

This story is part of a two-part series about the construction industry in Texas. Find the first part here.

The middle-income housing projects Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village sit on an 80-acre patch of Lower Manhattan. In 2006, they came to epitomize the lunatic excess of the housing boom when their 11,232 apartments sold for $5.4 billion. They were bought at a competitive auction by Tishman Speyer Properties and BlackRock Realty.

The government-controlled mortgage giant Fannie Mae, which needed a $116 billion federal bailout after the housing bubble burst in 2007, said Tuesday that it earned a record $7.6 billion in fourth-quarter 2012 and $17.2 billion for the year.

When fortunes rise in the housing industry — as they currently are — it tends to lift sales for other businesses, too. Home construction, sales and prices are all improving. And according to many analysts, the market is gaining steam.

For nearly two decades, Scott Gillis has owned his own moving company, Great Scott Moving in Hyattsville, Md. Moving high season is just around the corner, which means Gillis is hiring.

The housing recovery continues:

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Erin O'Toole / KUNC

Homes in Northern Colorado are selling faster than they have in years. That’s not too surprising, considering recent state budget projections showing Colorado’s economy improving.

The first day of spring typically signals the high season for open houses and home sales.

The season seems to have arrived early in some places where homebuying is already frenzied, and in many markets, the pendulum has swung from an excess of homes on the market a few years ago to a shortage.

Construction was begun on 0.8 percent more homes in February than in January, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development say. Their report is another in a series of signs in recent months that the housing sector's rebound continues.

The number of "housing starts" was up 27.7 percent from February 2012.

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