US housing starts rise to 917K in February
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. builders started construction of homes in February at the second-fastest pace in 4 1/2 years, further evidence of a sustainable housing recovery.
The Commerce Department says builders broke ground on homes last month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 917,000. That's up from 910,000 in January. The only time the rate has been faster since June 2008 was in December, when the pace reached 982,000.
Builders started single-family homes at an annual rate of 618,000, the most in 4 1/2 years. Apartment starts ticked up to 285,000.
And in a positive sign for future construction, building permits increased 4.6 percent to 946,000. That was also the most since June 2008, just a few months into the Great Recession.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Homes sales in Wisconsin rose for the 20th consecutive month in February.
A report by the Wisconsin Realtors Association says sales increased nearly 12 percent compared to last February. The central region of the state saw particularly strong growth, with sales up 24 percent compared to last year.
Median home prices rose to $122,000 in February. That's a 6 percent increase over a year ago. While the majority of homes in Wisconsin sell between April and September, association board chairman Renny Diedrich says winter sales did pretty well.
December, January and February sales increased 14.5 percent compared to the same period in 2012.