Housing starts for the month of February fell 0.6%, to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.065 million. The number was better than expected, as analysts were expecting a number in the range of 990,000.
New construction on single-family homes declined by 6.7%, the lowest level in 17 years. Starts on single-family homes have dropped 62% from the peak over two years ago and have fallen 28.4% in the last year.
Starts on multi-family units increased 14.5% in the month and are up 23% in the past year.
Regionally, total starts fell 28% in the Northeast and were flat in the Midwest. Starts rose 3.9% in the South and 5.1% in the West.
Building permits, an indicator of future construction, fell 7.8% in February, to a seasonally-adjusted 978,000 annual rate. Building permits are at its lowest level since late 1991.
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