Permits for future construction increased 4.6 percent in January to a rate of 1.29 million units, the most since November 2015. Reuters reports that the jump suggests the housing industry is on pace for recovery.
Housing starts dropped 2.6 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.25 million units.
With overall permits now outpacing starts, homebuilding is likely to rebound in the coming months. Economists had forecast groundbreaking activity slipping to a rate of 1.22 million units last month and building permits rising to a 1.23 million pace.