Dodge Data & Analytics' The Dodge Index is a definitive dashboard of new construction starts activity, and it's up: based on a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $667.6 billion, new construction starts in February advanced 10% compared to the previous month.

This figure, of course, includes a lift in February from the nonbuilding construction sector--the electric power and gas plant category included a $3 billion segment of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in Texas as well as the start of six power plant projects valued each in excess of $200 million. Nonresidential building also helped out in February with a moderate gain. Here's the drill-down in Dodge's report vis a vis the residential segment in February:

Residential building in February dropped 5% to $281.3 billion (annual rate), following the 5% gain reported in January. Single family housing receded 3%, reflecting a varied pattern by geography – the South Atlantic, down 9%; the West and South Central, each down 5%; and the Northeast and Midwest, each up 7%. Multifamily housing slipped 8% in February after strengthening 24% over the previous two months. Even with the pullback, February did include groundbreaking for eight multifamily projects valued at $100 million or greater, led by the $233 million Gran Paraiso Bay condominium building in Miami FL, a $165 million residential tower in Atlanta GA, a $143 million condominium building in West New York NJ, and the $112 millionmultifamily portion of the Omni City Center Convention Hotel in Louisville KY.

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