Home construction jumps 9.7% powered by Northeast

It is good to be a U.S. homebuilder especially in the Northeast.

Housing starts, which track new construction, jumped 9.7% to 1.33 million units in January, the strongest month since October of 2016.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, called the report “terrific news” while adding that the industry still has room to grow.

“There is still large room for improvement given the fact overall housing inventory is currently near historic lows” said Yun.

The bulk of the gains came from the Northeast, which soared 45.5%, followed by a 10.7% jump in the West and a 9.3% boost in the South. The exception was the Midwest, which saw a 10.2% drop.

Building permits, which measure future projects, rose 7.4% to 1.39 million units.

The uptick in housing construction comes as mortgage rates rise. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.48%, the highest level since April of 2014, as tracked by Freddie Mac.