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Financial News Network
April 19, 2011 AT 5:17 PM
U.S. builders started construction on 549,000 homes in March, a 7.2% seasonally adjusted increase from 512,000 in February, which was revised up from 479,000.Economists had expected housing starts to climb to 520,000 in the month.The report, however, still represented a 13.4% year-over-year drop from the 634,000 reported in March of 2010.Homebuilding permits, a measure of future construction activity, increased at a seasonally adjusted rate of 11.2%, coming in at 594,000.That number was also down significantly from March of last year, when 685,000 permits were filed.