U.S. housing starts turned upward for the first time in eight months this February, posting a 22.2% gain that was due primarily to a big bump on the often-volatile multifamily side, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.
Total U.S. housing starts rose 22.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 583,000 units in February. This gain reflected an 82.3% surge to a 226,000-unit pace on the multifamily side and a 1.1% gain to a 357,000-unit pace on the single-family side.
Regionally, the only area of the country to post a lower rate of total housing starts for February was the West, with a 24.6% decline. The Northeast posted the largest gain, of 88.6%, reflecting a rebound from a nearly equal decline in the previous month. Meanwhile, the Midwest posted a 58.5% gain following a deep plunge in January, and the South posted a 30.2% gain. January-February averages were well below the monthly averages for the final quarter of 2008 in all regions of the U.S.
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