Housing starts rise more than expected in February

Housing starts rose more than expected in February, climbing 5.2% to an annualized pace of 1.178 million.

Expectations were for starts to rise 4.6% in February to an annualized pace of 1.15 million, bouncing back from the 3.8% decline seen in January.

Building permits fell 3.1% in February to a pace of 1.167 million, a larger decline than expected.

In a note following the report, Ian Shepherdson at Pantheon Macro said starts have “overshot” permits and so a correction is to be expected in March.

Shepherdson added, “Looking further ahead, we remain hopeful that the rising trend in mortgage applications will translate into a decent spring housing market, lifting construction activity.”

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