Overall, construction began on quite a few more homes in March than in February, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development reported this morning.
But the 1.6% increase in "starts", compared to February, was all due to a big gain in construction of apartment buildings — not the much larger, more economically significant, market for single-family homes.
There was a 0.9% decline in single-family home starts.
As the Associated Press says, "the sluggish nature of the housing recovery has helped slow the rebound of the broader economy."
Still, according to Bloomberg News, word in the report that builders also "took out permits at the fastest pace in more than a year," could be "a sign of growing confidence that sales will stabilize."
Planet Money sorts through the economic data here.