The U.S. Commerce Department reports this morning that builders started work on slightly fewer homes in February. Builders broke ground on a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 698,000 homes last month., down 1.1 percent from January.
But builders say they are preparing for what could be the healthiest spring buying season since the housing bubble burst. Many builders are seeing more people express interest in buying a home, leading them to believe 2012 could be a turn-around year for the market. Mortgage rates are hovering near record lows below 4 percent. And home sales started to rise at the end of last year.
Building permits, a gauge of future construction, jumped 5.1 percent in January to the highest level in more than a year.