U.S. Housing Starts Rebound 9.8% In February, Much More Than Expected

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After reporting decreases in new U.S. residential construction for six straight months, the Commerce Department released a report on Thursday showing a substantial rebound in housing starts in the month of February.

The Commerce Department said housing starts spiked by 9.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.450 million in February after slumping by 2.0 percent to a revised rate of 1.321 million in January.

Economists had expected housing starts to rise to an annual rate of 1.315 million from the 1.309 million originally reported for the previous month.

The rebound by housing starts largely reflected a surge in multi-family starts, which soared by 24.0 percent to a rate of 620,000. Single-family starts also jumped by 1.1 percent to a rate of 830,000.

"The rise in single family starts in February, albeit modest, suggests that the housing sector may have bottomed in January," said Nancy Vanden Houten, U.S. Lead Economist at Oxford Economics.

The report said building permits also skyrocketed by 13.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.524 million in February after inching up by 0.1 percent to an unrevised rate of 1.339 million in January.

Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, had been expected to edge up to an annual rate of 1.340 million.

Multi-family permits shot up by 21.1 percent to a rate of 747,000, while single-family permits surged by 7.6 percent to a rate of 777,000.

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