The Real Deal Miami

U.S. housing permits, starts fall sharply

March 16, 2011 03:15PM

The annual rate of building permits issued for new privately-owned U.S. housing units fell by another 8.2 percent in February to a record-low 517,000, according to the latest data from the Commerce Department, backing up analysts’ predictions that a sustained recovery in the housing market is still elusive. The permitting rate, which is indicative of future construction activity in the housing sector, was 20.5 percent below its level in February 2010, the figures show. Meanwhile, housing starts were at an annual rate of just 479,000, down 22.5 percent from January and 20.8 percent from the rate last year at this time. The country was also on pace for 581,000 annual housing completions last month, a 13.9 percent increase from January’s 510,000 completion rate but 13 percent below the rate recorded in February 2010. TRD