Builders report surge in apartment complexes

Last month, for the first time in eight months, housing starts in the United States increased, surging 22 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 583,000, the U.S. Commerce Department announced Tuesday.

The monthly increase, which was the largest in 19 years, was fueled by a spike in new construction of apartment buildings, as fewer consumers are qualified to be homeowners with the more restricted flows of credit.

Single-family homes under construction dropped 3.4 to 370,000, the lowest in 38 years.

By region, monthly housing starts rose 89 percent in the Northeast, rose 58 percent in the Midwest, rose 30 percent in the South and fell 25 percent in the West.

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