By Xavier Fontdegloria


Construction of new homes in the U.S. increased sharply in March following a weather-related decline the previous month, data from the Commerce Department showed Friday. Here are the main takeaways from the report:

--Housing starts, a measure of U.S. homebuilding, rose by 19.4% in March compared with February, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.739 million. This is above the consensus forecast from The Wall Street Journal poll of economists, who expected starts to increase by 14% to an annual pace of 1.62 million.

--The current level of starts is 37.0% above compared with the same month a year earlier.

--In February, housing starts amounted to an upwardly revised 1.457 million from an earlier estimate of 1.421 million.

--Monthly housing starts data are volatile and are often revised. March data came with a margin of error of 13.7 percentage points.

--Residential permits, which can be a bellwether for future home construction, increased by 2.7% in March, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.766 million. The figure missed economists' forecasts of a 4% rise.

--U.S. housing starts report for March compares with April's indicator compiled by the National Association of Homebuilders, which showed a slight increase of confidence in the single-family housing market, remaining at robust levels.


Write to Xavier Fontdegloria at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 16, 2021 09:04 ET (13:04 GMT)

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