Continues to look to me like the blip in November was from the likes of expiring tax incentives, and that growth fell off in 2013 and at least so far remains flattish, though the weather story won’t clear for another couple of months or so. Same with cars. And real disposable personal income growth near 0 as well.

Housing Starts

Housing starts came in much as expected for February but permits topped the consensus forecast. Overall starts nudged down 0.2 percent to a 907,000 annual rate from an upwardly revised 909,000 rate for January which followed a downwardly revised December number of 1.024 million. Analysts expected 910,000 units for February. January and December previously were 880,000 and 1.048 million, respectively.

Single-family starts rose 0.3 percent after a 13.2 percent plunge in January. Multifamily starts dipped 1.2 percent in February after a 7.6 percent decline the month before.

Overall permits jumped 7.7 percent to a 1.018 million unit pace after decreasing 4.6 percent in January. Expectations were for 960,000. The increase was largely from a 24.3 percent spike in multifamily units while single-family permits eased 1.8 percent in both February and January.

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