Groundbreaking on new homes dropped 11% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.62 million units, the Commerce Department's Census Bureau reported last week.
Starts on single-family homes were down 13.7% to a rate of 1.3 million units in February from the previous month's rate of 1.5 million homes.
Housing starts last month were 9.3% below the February 2002 rate of about 1.79 million units. The February rate was up 0.4% from January's 1.78 million, and up 1.1% from 1.77 million the same month a year ago.
Housing completions were up 4.5% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.67 million units from January's estimate of 1.6 million. Completions were also up 0.3% compared with the rate of 1.67 million recorded during the same month in 2002.