U.S. housing starts moved up for the first time in eight months during February, the Commerce Department says.
U.S. housing starts moved up for the
first time in eight months during February, according to numbers released by
the Commerce Department.
Total starts rose to a seasonally
adjusted 583,000 units during February.
The 22.2 percent increase was mostly due
to a big jump in multifamily housing development, officials with the National Association of Home
"While welcome news,
this gain only reflects a modest rebound from January, which was the worst
month in history for new-home production," said NAHB chief economist David
Crowe. “The majority of the gain was due to characteristic volatility on the
multifamily side, while single-family housing starts were up just over one
percent for the month."
Still, the report offers
some hope for the beleaguered housing industry, said Joe Robson, a home builder
from Tulsa, Okla., who serves as NAHB chairman.
"Builders did pull a
larger volume of single-family permits in February, suggesting a glimmer of
hope for the prime home-buying season, which is near at hand," Robson
said. "That said, we realize there's a need to be extremely cautious in terms
of new building activity going forward, because there's still quite a lot of
inventory out there that needs to be absorbed as foreclosures continue to flood
the market in many areas."
The only section of the
country not to report a gain in February was the West, which saw a 24.6 percent
Housing market saw gain last month
March 24, 2009