U.S. housing starts slightly down to 907K in February

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The number of newly constructed homes in the U.S. declined slightly last month, although it is expected to improve as the weather warms, and permits filed by builders to begin new projects such as apartment buildings and multi-unit condominiums improved.

Housing starts declined to an annual rate of 907,000 in February, compared with the upwardly revised 909,000 in January, according to the Department of Commerce report released Tuesday.

Severe cold weather kept builders from starting new construction projects, particularly in early February. The harsh conditions also resulted to an 11 percent decline in starts in January.

Permits requesting to build new buildings increased to the highest level since October and the second highest rate since the end of the recession in 2009. Permits rose 7.7 percent to an annual pace of 1.02 million, primarily due to the sharp rise in plans to construct rental apartment buildings and condominiums.

Single-family homes make up for around three-quarters of the nation’s housing market. However, some potential buyers prefer previously owned homes, which are typically less expensive than newly built homes. Over the past six months, sales of existing homes have significantly dropped.

Last month, housing starts rose in the Midwest and South and declined in the Northeast and West. New construction climbed 34.5 percent in the Midwest in February after slipping 62 percent in January.

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