The volatile multi-family segment slumped 28 percent to 317 thousand while single-family starts, the largest segment of the market, went up 2.9 percent to 902 thousand. Overall, housing starts fell in the South (-7.3 percent to 633 thousand); the West (-12.9 percent to 339 thousand) and the Northeast (-3.5 percent to 109 thousand) but increased in the Midwest (7.6 percent to 155 thousand).
Building permits declined 5.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1,298 thousand, after a 5.9 percent rise in January and below market expectations of 1,320 thousand. The January rate at 1,377 thousand was the highest since June of 2007. Multi-family home permits declined 14.8 percent to 385 thousand and permits for construction of single-family homes dropped 0.6 percent to 872 thousand. Permits fell in the South (-12.4 percent to 614 thousand) and in the West (-3.4 percent to 367 thousand) but rose in the Midwest (3.4 percent to 184 thousand) and the Northeast (12.7 percent to 133 thousand).
Year-on-year, starts went down 4 percent while permits gained 6.5 percent.