Single-family housing starts rose 10% in February from the level of the previous month but with significant weakness in the Northeast and the Midwest, according to government figures released Tuesday.Multifamily starts (five units or more) fell 2.2% to 266,000 units. The Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development found that single-family housing starts (one to four units) rose 10.3% to 1.22 million units -- but fell 32.7% compared with those of February 2006. Compared with the levels recorded in January, one- to four-unit starts fell 26% and 19.3% in the Northeast and Midwest, respectively, but rose in the South (up 16.4%) and the West (up 37.4%). On a year-over-year basis, the Midwest suffered the most, with starts plummeting 52.3%. According to RBS Greenwich Capital, "Builders reacted rapidly to the slowdown in housing demand that began last year by cutting back sharply on housing starts."

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