The appeal of homeownership continued to drive the U.S. housing market in February as single-family housing starts set a new all-time record and multifamily construction was buoyed by the condominium market, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
Total housing starts increased 0.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.195 million units, setting a new 21-year record for the second month in a row, the U.S. Commerce Department reported. The February construction pace was also 15.8 percent above a year ago.
"Builders are reporting that there is still plenty of traffic in their sales offices," said Dave Wilson, president of NAHB. "Mortgage rates, employment, household income, and other favorable market conditions continue to drive demand."
The rate of single-family home construction reached 1.775 million units, a new record for the second month in a row. The pace was 0.3 percent above the January rate and 16.7 percent above February 2004.
Multi-family housing starts increased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 420,000 units in February, 1.7 percent above the January pace and 12.3 percent above a year earlier.
Regionally, construction of new homes and apartments increased in the U.S. Northeast by 19.1 percent and in the Midwest by 20.4 percent for the month -- the two regions that were hit hardest by winter storms the month before. Construction in the South declined by 8.1 percent, following an 18-percent surge in January, and starts increased in the West by 0.7 percent in February.
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