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Construction Spending Rises, Starts Decline


The U.S. Census Bureau released its latest read of construction spending, housing starts and completions, and building-permit activity.

Construction spending showed improvement from near-cycle low levels of spending in January for residential construction while indicating a slight pullback for total non-residential spending.

On a month-to-month basis, total residential spending increased 1.78 percent from December and rose 6.73 percent above the level seen in January 2011 while remaining a whopping 62.50 percent below the peak level seen in 2006.

Single-family construction spending increased 2.46 percent since December and rose 5.48 percent since January 2011 but remained 75.78 percent below it's peak in 2006.

Non-residential construction spending declined 1.54 percent since December but climbed a whopping 16.60 percent above the level seen in January 2011 but remained 33.14 percent below the peak level reached in October 2008.

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 717,000. This is 5.1 percent above the revised January rate of 682,000 and is 34.3 percent above the February 2011 estimate of 534,000.

Single-family authorizations in February were at a rate of 472,000; this is 4.9 percent above the revised January figure of 450,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 219,000 in February.

Privately-owned housing starts in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 698,000. This is 1.1 percent below the revised January estimate of 706,000, but is 34.7 percent above the February 2011 rate of 518,000.

Single-family housing starts in February were at a rate of 457,000; this is 9.9 percent below the revised January figure of 507,000. The February rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 233,000.

Privately-owned housing completions in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 568,000. This is 6.2 percent above the revised January estimate of 535,000, but is 7.0 percent below the February 2011 rate of 611,000.

Single-family housing completions in February were at a rate of 421,000; this is 8.2 percent above the revised January rate of 389,000. The February rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 144,000.