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Economic Report: Housing starts rebound in January as builders bet big on houses rather than apartments

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Roof builders mounting a prefabricated wooden roof.

The numbers: Housing starts ran at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.23 million in January, the Commerce Department said Friday. Seasonally adjusted housing permits were at an annualized 1.345 million.

What happened: Builders broke ground on more homes and applied for more permits to start construction in the future, a solid vote of confidence in economic growth and a surge of much-needed inventory for the supply-starved housing market. Starts were 19% higher than in December and 7.8% lower than year-ago levels. Permits were 1.4% higher than in December and 1.5% lower than last year.

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