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Feb. New-Housing Starts Surpass Expectations

A disappointing dip in Jan. new-home starts was followed by a surprise surge in Feb. Economists expected about 3.2% growth but starts rose by 6.8%.

WASHINGTON – An unexpected drop in January new-housing starts was followed by an equally unexpected increase in February.

According to the Commerce Department’s monthly report, housing starts surged 6.8% last month. The surge follows a 5.5% drop in January. Economists generally predicted only a 3.2% increase before the numbers came out.

In addition, building permits – a sign of future activity – were down slightly month-to-month by 1.9%, but they were 7.7% higher year-to-year.

Monthly New Residential Construction, February 2022

Housing starts

Privately‐owned housing starts in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,769,000, 6.8% above the revised January estimate of 1,657,000 and 22.3% above the February 2021 rate of 1,447,000.

February’s single‐family housing starts were at a rate of 1,215,000 – 5.7% above the revised January figure of 1,150,000. The February rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 501,000.

Building permits

Privately‐owned housing units authorized by building permits in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,859,000 – 1.9% below the revised January rate of 1,895,000, but 7.7% above the February 2021 rate of 1,726,000.

Single‐family authorizations in February were at a rate of 1,207,000 – 0.5% below the revised January figure of 1,213,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 597,000 in February.

Housing completions

February’s privately‐owned housing completions were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,309,000 – 5.9% above the revised January estimate of 1,236,000 but 2.8% below the February 2021 rate of 1,347,000.

Single‐family housing completions were at a rate of 1,034,000 – 12.1% above the revised January rate of 922,000. The February rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 266,000.

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