Soaring production of multifamily apartments pushed nationwide housing starts beyond the million-unit mark for the first time since 2008 in March, according to newly released figures from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Census Bureau. The data show that total starts activity rose 7.0 percent for the month due entirely to a 31.1-percent increase on the multifamily side, while single-family production slipped 4.8 percent from a number that was revised strongly upward for the previous month, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

Calling the latest data a “mixed bag” due to the opposite direction of single- and multifamily starts and a somewhat weaker amount of permit issuance, NAHB chief economist David Crowe said the numbers indicate “a continuation of the slow, methodical march forward” that characterizes the housing recovery. He also noted that the ” three-month moving average for single-family starts remained unchanged at 628,000 units in March—which is right on pace with NAHB’s forecast for a 25-percent gain in new-home production in 2013.”


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