WASHINGTON, March 19 (Xinhua) -- U.S. homebuilders broke ground on more houses in February, evidence of the recovering property market, U.S. Department of Commerce reported on Tuesday.
U.S. privately-owned housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 917,000 last month. The level was 0.8 percent above the revised January estimate of 910,000, and was 27.7 percent higher than the level in February 2012.
Single-family housing starts in February were at a rate of 618,000, 0.5 percent above the revised January figure of 615,000.
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits, a gauge of future construction, were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 946,000, up 4.6 percent from the revised January level and 33.8 percent above the estimate in February 2012.
The U.S. housing industry, which suffered its worst slump in decades since 2006, has showed signs of steady improvement since last year. So far the housing starts are far above the recession low, but still fall short of the level consistent with a healthy market.