Friday, Oct. 17, 2003 | 9:40 a.m.
SUN STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS
WASHINGTON -- Residential construction picked up in September, climbing to the second-highest level seen so far this year, a fresh sign that the housing market is helping to power an economic resurgence.
The Commerce Department reported today that builders broke ground on 1.888 million housing units in September, representing a 3.4 percent increase over August's level. September's performance was stronger than the pace of 1.827 million units that economists had forecast.
In Las Vegas, industry experts said housing starts, which they track through residential housing permits pulled, are putting the valley on track for another record year.
Housing construction slowed a bit in August, after booming in July. That's when housing starts clocked in at a red-hot rate of 1.890 million units, a 17-year high, and the best performance this year.
Larry Murphy, president of SalesTraq, said the number of residential permits pulled in the Las Vegas area is at an all-time high.
"There were 2,451 permits pulled in September, which is the most we've had in any month in the last three or four years," he said.
That's compared to September 2002, when there were 1,903 residential permits pulled, SalesTraq reported. In August 2003, there were 1,906 permits pulled.
"It looks like we're going to have another record year," Murphy said.
In Las Vegas area, there have been more than 19,000 sales contracts through the end of September, a 25 percent above last year's number, said Sandy Rose, regional director for research firm the Meyers Group.