The decline in housing starts was mostly centered in the Midwest, Northeast and West regions. Fortunately, the largest housing market by far, the South, remained relatively steady in February. Otherwise, the decline in the aggregate number would have been even greater. Housing starts in the Northeast are down over 45% year-over-year. This is the steepest year-over-year decline since 2009.
On the positive side, building permits actually came in slightly above expectations. Building permit in February total 1.092 million while consensus was looking for 1.07 million. An increase in building permits for buildings with at least five or more units offset the decline in building permits for single-family homes.