Entering the economy’s coronavirus contraction, February Housing Starts showed strength, off 1.5% after January’s large upward revision, but up 39.2% from a year ago, at a 1.599 million annual rate.

Single-family starts shot up 6.7% at the fastest pace since 2007, and single-family permits hit a post-recession high. Builder confidence was positive, but expect declines soon, followed by a big rebound after coronavirus issues get resolved. 

Existing Home Sales grew 6.5% in February, to 5.770 million annually, the highest level in 13 years, but these contracts were signed before coronavirus. Once the emergency passes, low inventories will still be a challenge.