Home builders are getting ready for a stronger construction season, filing for the most building permits in more than three years, in another sign of recovery in the long-battered housing market.
The government reported builders filed for permits at an seasonally adjusted annual rate of 717,000 in February, the strongest reading since October 2008, which was the month after the meltdown in financial markets. It marked a 5.1% rise from January and a 34.3% increase from year-earlier levels.
Actual starts of new homes slipped slightly from a very strong start to the building season in January, down 1.1% to 698,000. Still, that was 35% ahead of starts in February 2011.