New construction on single-family housing increases in February

New home starts on single-family homes decreased slightly in February from the month before, but overall new home starts are still up from last year.

Privately owned housing starts dropped by 7% from January’s 1.33 million to 1.24 million in February, according to the latest release from the U.S. Census Bureau. This is also down 4% from 1.29 million in February 2017.

But this decrease was due to a drop in multifamily building starts, as single-family housing starts increased 2.9% from 877,000 in January to 902,000 in February.

“All of the decline came from volatile the multifamily sector, which plummeted by 26.1%, the largest monthly drop since late 2016,” Nationwide Chief Economist David Berson said.

And new construction may not increase anytime soon. Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits decreased 5.7% from January’s 1.38 million to 1.3 million in February. This is up 6.5% from February 2017, when building permits totaled 1.22 million.

Single-family authorizations also decreased in February to 872,000, down 0.6% from January’s 877,000.

But one expert pointed out the construction industry could start seeing more activity after February’s increase in construction labor.

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