A leading indicator for residential investors:
Housing starts took a dip in March, according to the Census Bureau on Tuesday. Work began on new single-family and multi-family properties at an annualized rate of 654,000 units, which was 5.8 percent below the revised February figure of 694,000 units. But the March 2012 figure is 10.3 percent above the 593,000 units started in March 2011.
Single-family housing starts in March were at an annualized rate of 462,000 units, only 0.2 percent below the February rate of 463,000 units. Thus most of the overall monthly drop in housing starts was due to the volatile multifamily housing sector, which saw 178,000 units begin in March, compared with 231,000 units in February.