First day of spring brings encouraging construction data


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The first day of spring is traditionally a time to begin new outdoor projects, so it's a happy coincidence that the Commerce Department announced February housing start data on the same day as the vernal equinox.

During the second month of the year, housing starts slipped by 1.1 percent compared to January. However, building permits - which are often considered an indicator of future construction - went up 5.1 percent in February compared to the month prior to reach their highest level since October 2008, according to Bloomberg . Additionally, the 717,000 permits issued last month are a 34.3 percent increase over February 2011.

Sal Guatieri, a senior economist with Toronto-based BMO Capital Markets, said that the data boded well for the future of the construction industry.

"The housing market continues to recover at a very gradual rate," he told the news provider. "The increase in permits likely flags further strength in the months ahead."

Another strong sign for the sector is the recently released National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) , which revealed that home builder confidence maintained its highest level in nearly five years.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: News Headlines , Economy , Real Estate
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