Housing starts cross the million mark

Housing starts are back above 1 million.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of new residential construction surged to 1.036 million in March, according to data released Tuesday morning by the Commerce Department. That's 7.0% above last month's pace, and a whopping 46.7% ahead of the pace from March 2012, when starts were stalled at 706,000.

The total housing starts figure is the highest since June 2008, when starts hit a pace of 1.046 million. 

In the single-family housing arena, there was less to celebrate. Starts declined 4.8% from the previous month's rate. Still, single-family starts of 619,000 for March were up 28.7% from the same month a year ago. 

Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 902,000. This is 3.9% below the revised February rate of 939,000, but is 17.3% above the March 2012 estimate of 769,000. 

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