Housing starts in the U.S. slipped 1.1 percent from January to February but were up 34.7 percent year over year driven by demand for rentals and multi-family housing with construction of structures with five (5) or more units up 108.0 percent year-over-year versus 17.8 percent for single-family home.
Permit activity to start construction was up 34.3 percent year-over-year in February with applications for multi-family housing up 73.3 percent versus 23.6 percent for single-family homes.
In the west, starts were up 41.1 percent year-over-year, up 11.1 percent for single-family homes while permit activity was up 45.4 percent, up 22.7 percent for single-family homes.
New Residential Construction: February 2012 [doc.gov]

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