With November's housing starts up 9.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 685,000 units, executives from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), Washington, D.C., are starting to like what they see in homebuilding data. NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen, a home builder from Reno, Nev., said in a press release, “While we still have a long way to go back to normal, the latest numbers are one more indication that housing is slowly turning the corner. In scattered markets across the country, buyers who have long sat on the sidelines are starting to take advantage of today's very attractive prices and interest rates, while others are making the move to a new apartment. This nascent trend would be stronger if not for the very restrictive lending environment that continues for both building and buying new homes.”

David Crowe, NAHB's chief economist, said the latest housing data points toward a slow-but positive growth environment for homebuilders in 2012. “Along with recent gains that have been registered in builder confidence and other economic measures, the improvement in new-home production and permitting shown in this latest report provides further evidence of the gradual strengthening that we expected to see in housing markets toward the end of the year,” he said in that press statement. “We anticipate continued, slow improvement in housing starts and sales through 2012.”