The US residential building sector showed renewed signs of life last month as falling construction costs prompted builders to break ground, offering a glimmer of hope that the real estate slump could be near its bottom.

Housing starts grew for the first time in eight months, rising 22.2% from January to an adjusted annual rate of construction of 583,000 units in February, commerce department figures showed yesterday. The results beat economists’ expectations of 450,000 starts.

The figure marked a sharp rebound from January’s revised figure of 477,000 starts, which was the lowest since records began in 1959, and was the sharpest monthly surge since January 1990.

Financial Times, Wall Street Journal