Housing starts surged 19.4% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.739 million units after falling 10.3% in February, according to reuters.com.
The rate was higher than economists’ expectations of 1.613 million units. Additionally, housing starts were up 37% compared with March 2020.
Applications for building permits, a good indication of future activity, rose 2.7% to 1.766 million units in March and are up 30.2% compared with March 2020.
Single-family starts rose 15.3% to 1.238 million units, and multifamily starts rose 28% to 477,000 units.
Amid COVID-19 vaccinations, warmer weather and massive fiscal stimulus, economic growth this year is expected to be the strongest in nearly four decades. However, the pandemic still brings uncertainty, and consumers reportedly are growing concerned about inflation. Additionally, the construction industry is facing the challenge of materials shortages and price increases.