U.S. Housing Dips Again in February; Pandemic Started Hitting Home A Year Ago

U.S. housing starts experienced a second straight month of decline in February 2021 with a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.421 million, down 10.3% from January. It was also down 9.3% from February 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development monthly new residential construction report.

Single-family housing starts in February were at 1.040 million, down 8.5% from January, though up slightly from February a year ago. Multi-family starts were 372,000 for February, down 14.5% from January and down 27.6% from a year ago.

U.S. housing building permits were 1.682 million in February, down 10.8% from January but 17% above February 2020. Single-family authorizations in February were 1.143 million, 10% below January but up 15% from February 2020. Multi-housing permits were 495,000 in February, down 11.6% from January but up 24% from a year ago.

Combined single- and multi-family housing starts in 2020 hit their lowest point in April at 934,000, but rebounded for the year to 1.38 million, compared to 1.29 million in 2019. Single-family starts were 990.5 million in 2020 and multi-family was 376.8 million.

The comparative March numbers, due out in mid-April, will reflect the beginnings of the pandemic in March 2020.

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