US housing starts declined slightly in February, though January new construction was revised higher. Total housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate(SAAR) of 698,000 last month, down 1 per cent from 706,000 (SAAR) in January. Building permits, an indicator of future home construction, were 717,000 (SAAR) in February, a 5 per cent increase from January and 3 per cent higher than February 2011.
While this morning's report is not overly positive, it does reinforce that the housing sector in the US has bottomed and that the construction sector is healing, if only gradually. That said, any sustained increase in US housing starts is good for the BC economy, particularly those regions exposed to forestry and forestry products. We anticipate a continued slow recovery in US housing starts through 2012.
Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.