Housing starts and permits fall in February – The Property Chronicle
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Housing starts and permits fall in February

Residential Investor

Total housing starts fell to a 1.421 million annual rate from a 1.584 million pace in January, a 10.3% decrease. Month-to-month volatility in housing construction can be influenced by weather conditions and conditions in significant portions of the country were unfavourable in February. From a year ago, total starts are off 9.3%.

The dominant single-family segment fell 8.5% for the month to a rate of 1.040 million. Despite the drop, single-family starts are up 0.6% from a year ago. Starts of multifamily structures with five or more units fell 14.5% to 372,000 and are off 27.6% over the past year.

Total starts and single-family starts were down in three of the four regions in February with only the West region posting gains.

For housing permits, total permits fell 10.8% to 1.682 million in February. Total permits are 17.0% above the February 2020 level. Single-family permits were off 10.0% at 1.143 million while permits for two- to four-family units dropped 21.4% to 44,000 and permits for five or more units sank 11.6% to 495,000.

Home construction has been one of the strongest parts of the economy over the past year and excluding the plunge in activity during the government-enforced lockdowns in early 2020, single-family housing activity has been on an upswing since early 2019 (see first chart).

Residential Investor

About Robert Hughes

Robert Hughes joined the American Institute for Economic Research in 2013 following more than 25 years in economic and financial markets research on Wall Street. He was formerly the Head of Global Equity Strategy for Brown Brothers Harriman, where he developed equity investment strategy combining top-down macro analysis with bottom-up fundamentals. Prior to that, he was a senior equity strategist for State Street Global Markets, senior economic strategist with Prudential Equity Group and senior economist and financial markets analyst for Citicorp Investment Services.

Articles by Robert Hughes

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