Single-family housing starts increased moderately in February to a pace of 822,000 units, according to data released by the Commerce Department Wednesday morning. After two consecutive months of decline, February's rate marks a 7.2% increase over January's revised figure of 767,000, and a 37.0% gain compared to February 2015.

Housing permits, the leading indicator for future housing starts, decreased -3.1% in February, due to a -9.1% decrease in permits issued for multifamily structures with five units or more. Permits issued exclusively for single-family housing units increased a meager 0.4% in February but still showed 16.8% growth year-over-year, indicating the pace of starts will likely continue on an upward trajectory in March.

Construction of one-unit structures picked up significantly in the Midwest and West regions of the United States, increasing 18.6% and 24.8% month-over-month, respectively. Single-family starts dropped -51.3% in the Northeast region during February, in concert with the -55.9% drop in permits issued for single-family units a month prior.

February's gains in single-family housing permits, starts, and completions come as a relief following January's weak numbers, and should kick-off positive growth in the coming months as builders race to complete homes in time for Spring selling season.

Metrostudy chief economist Brad Hunter speaks to how today's release will impact the future trajectory of new home construction in this video:

See the full release and data here >>