Washington, DC, April 16, 2013 -- Housing starts surged in March, well ahead of expectations, according to the Census Bureau.
The gain was driven by a surge in apartment construction .
Total starts hit an adjusted annual rate of 1.036 million units, the fastest in nearly 5 years. They were up 7% from February.
Single-family housing starts were running at a 619,000 rate, down 4.8%, Census said.
February's single-family starts were revised up to a 650,000 annual rate from 618,000.
However, building permits fell 3.9% from February, to a 902,000 annual rate.