Housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 946,000, a 2.8% increase from the revised February estimate of 920,000, but a 5.9% drop from the March 2013 rate of 1,005,000, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development said in the new residential construction statistics.  

In addition, single-family housing starts for the month were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 872,000, a slight 0.2% decline from the February estimate of 874,000, but a 7.7% jump from a year prior’s rate of 810,000.

Building permits for privately-owned housing units came in at a seasonally adjust annual rate of 990,000 in March, 2.4% bellows Februarys’ revised rate of 1,014,000, but 11.2% higher than the March 2013 estimate of 890,000.

Meanwhile, housing completions for the month hit a rate 872,000. This is .2% below the revised February estimate of 874,000, but is 7.7% above last years rate of 810,000.

“Housing starts picked up in March but not as much as expected. However, strength was in the single-family component while it was expected to be in the multifamily component. So, the expectations shortage really is not bad,” analyst with Econoday said.  

“Overall, the headline number was below expectations but the fact that moderate strength was in the single-family component is encouraging. Last month's data in permits suggested more strength in the multifamily component. But the multifamily component is volatile and based on recent permits, there still is strength in that component. The gain in the single-family component is a bonus,” they added.

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