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Housing starts lackluster

South makes up more than half of starts, sees biggest decrease

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New, private housing starts in February remained largely flat at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 575,000, an estimated 0.2 percent above last year's February rate of 574,000, according to a report by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This follows an estimated 21 percent year-over-year jump in January (see story). Starts in February dropped an estimated 5.9 percent from January's upwardly revised estimate of 611,000. The vast majority (499,000) of housing starts in February were single-family units, up an estimated 39.8 percent year-over-year and down about 0.6 percent month-to-month. About 10 percent, or 58,000 of the units, were in buildings with five or more units. Regionally, every region but the South saw a year-over-year increase in housing starts. The West saw the biggest rise, 21.2 percent, to 137,000 units, or 24 percent of total starts. The region also saw a 7.9 percent month-to-month decrease. The Midwest saw the second-largest ...