The latest positive news in the rolling recovery of the US housing market is a 27.7% year on year increase in housing starts in February.
According to the latest Commerce Department report 917,000 houses were started in February, up from 718,000 in February 2012 and 0.8% more than in January this year as well.
The report also found that single family home starts were the driver of February's growth, with an increase of 31.5% over the previous year to the highest level since 2008. The US housing recovery was started and has been fuelled by the fact that a rental boom spurred growth in multi-family housing purchases and construction, with demand at the commercial level (i.e. buying apartment blocks by the handful) a particular driver of the turnaround. So the fact that single-family housing is now on the turn is good news for the recovery as a whole.
Building permits, a sign of future growth, are also up. The number of permits issued for privately-owned housing jumped 33.8 percent from a year ago, according to the report.
Other reports of late have supported and knocked the recovery, Zillow managed to do both in one report, although it wasn't alone in that with a report of continually declining inventories; this is good because it means buyers are buying, but bad because tight inventories continue to become a new and prominent threat to the recovery. Meanwhile RealtyTrac data shows that foreclosure numbers continue to drop which can only be a good thing overall, but could also dent demand as many buyers are still investors looking for a bargain.