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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Starts Rebound in February
by Tom Moeller  March 17, 2022

• Severe winter weather depressed January building activity.

• Regional changes remain mixed.

• Building permits decline.

Housing starts increased 6.8% (22.3% y/y) during February to 1.769 million (SAAR) and more than recovered the January decline to 1.657 million, revised from 1.638 million. It was the highest level of starts since June 2006. December starts also were revised up to 1.754 million from 1.708 million. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 1.700 million starts during February.

Starts of single-family units rose 5.7% (13.7% y/y) in February to 1.215 million after declining to 1.150 million in January. Multi-family housing starts improved 9.3% (46.6% y/y) to 554,000 from 507,000.

By region, housing starts in the Northeast rose 28.7% (19.3% y/y) in February to 130,000. Starts in the Midwest improved 15.3% (66.2% y/y) to 226,000. In the South, housing starts rose 11.4% (31.9% y/y) to 1.017 million units. To the downside, starts in the West fell 11.4% (-8.1% y/y) to 396,000.

Building permits fell 1.9% (+7.7% y/y) to 1.859 million from 1.895 million in January. Permits to build single-family homes eased 0.5% (+5.4% y/y) in February to 1.207 million units. Permits to build multi-family homes fell 4.4% (+12.2% y/y) to 652,000.

The housing starts and permits figures can be found in Haver's USECON database. The expectations figure is contained in the AS1REPNA database.

Housing Starts (000s, SAAR) Feb Jan Dec Feb Y/Y % 2021 2020 2019
Total 1,769 1,657 1,754 22.3 1,605 1,397 1,292
  Single-Family 1,215 1,150 1,203 13.7 1,131 1,004 889
  Multi-Family 554 507 551 46.6 473 393 403
Starts By Region
  Northeast 130 101 140 19.3 138 113 115
  Midwest 226 196 324 66.2 217 193 169
  South 1,017 913 900 31.9 849 743 687
  West 396 447 390 -8.1 401 347 321
Building Permits 1,859 1,895 1,885 7.7 1,714 1,479 1,385
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