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US DATA: Feb housing starts -7.0% to 1.236m SAAR, below the 1.287m
rate expected after hitting its highest point in over a year in Jan,
which was revised up slightly to 1.329m.
- Starts were down in the Northeast, South, and West, all regions that
saw added to the January spike. Sales were up 7.6% in the Midwest after
a January dip. 1-family starts +2.9%, but multi-family starts -26.1%.
- Building permits -5.7% to 1.298m SAAR after hitting a 10 year high in
Jan. 1-family permits -0.6%, multi-family -14.8%. Homes permitted but
not started -1.9%, so combined with permits drop suggests starts could
slip in the coming months.
- Even with the February dips, 1Q starts and permits are ahead of their
4Q averages through the first two months.
- Homes under construction +0.1% and housing completions +7.8% to 1.319m
SAAR, both to 10-year highs on the back of strong permits and starts in
recent month. New home supply should get a boost as a result.