Housing Starts Up, But Permits Still Falling

Peter Coy

Starts on construction of single-family homes rose 9% in February, the government said today. But before you get too excited that the bust is over, consider this: The increase was a rebound from an extremely low January, which was affected by bad weather. Starts are still down about 29% from a year ago. And worst of all, issuance of housing permits (which is relatively unaffected by weather) dropped about 2.5%. That's an early warning sign of soft construction ahead.

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