US housing starts at 6-mth high

WASHINGTON: US housing starts rebounded more strongly than expected to their highest level in six months in January, while permits fell slightly less than forecast, pointing a mild housing market recovery.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday Feb 17, housing starts increased 2.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 591,000 units, reversing the prior month's weather-induced drop.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected housing starts to rise to 580,000 units. December's housing starts were revised upwards to 575,000 units from the previously reported 557,000 units. Compared to January last year, starts surged 21.1%, the largest increase since April 2004.

Groundbreaking for single-family homes rose 1.5% last month to an annual rate of 484,000 units after declining 3% in December. Starts for the volatile multifamily segment increased 9.2% to a 107,000 unit annual pace after rising 12.6% in December. — Reuters
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