A solid gain in multifamily starts (up 9.3% to 501,000 units) spurred the strong total home starts reading in February, according to NAHB. Single-family starts posted a 5.7% increase to a 1.22 million seasonally adjusted annual rate.

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“The February pace for apartment construction was the best since January 2020, and we expect the multifamily sector to continue to show strength as the economy reopens,” said NAHB chief economist Robert Dietz. “On the single-family front, the count of homes permitted but not started construction reached a four-month high in February, rising to 152,000. This is an indication of the ongoing supply-chain delays and cost issues that are limiting the pace of home building in many markets.”

Overall permits dwindled 1.9% to a 1.86million-unit annualized rate in February, with single-family permits dropping 0.5% to 1.21 million and multifamily permits decreasing to 4.4% to an annualized 652,000 rate.

There were roughly 1.31 million privately-owned homes completed in February, a 5.9% month-over-month gain. Single‐family housing completions were at a 1.03-million-unit pace, and multifamily completions were at a 266,000 rate.