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Economy in Brief

Housing Starts Higher in February
by Tom Moeller March 16, 2005

Housing starts unexpectedly ticked 0.5% higher in February to a record high of 2.195M following an upwardly revised 6.2% increase in January.Consensus expectations had been for a decline to 2.033M starts.

Single-family starts rose 0.3% m/m to a record high of 1.775M and reflected a 4.5% (19.0% y/y) gain in the Northeast. Single family starts in the Midwest also jumped 19.1% (7.3% y/y).

Multi family starts remained on the mend and rose 1.7% m/m after the upwardly revised 20.8% January spike.

Building permits slipped 2.7% reflecting a 10.8% (+13.8% y/y) drop in permits for 5+ units.

Housing Starts (000s, AR) Feb Jan Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Total 2,195 2,183 15.8% 1,952 1,853 1,7 10
  Single-family 1,775 1,770 16.7% 1,605 1,505 1,363
  Multi-family 420 413 12.3% 347 348 347
Building Permits 2,074 2,132 6.0% 2,035 1,8 89 1,749
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