Statistics compiled by the Construction
Industry Research Board (CIRB) show home builders pulled permits for 2,979 total
housing units in January, a 49 percent increase compared with January 2008 but
an 18 percent decline compared with December 2009.   Permits for
single-family homes totaled 1,908, a 50 percent increase compared with the same
period a year ago but down 28 percent compared with the previous month. 
Multifamily permits totaled 1,071, up 45 percent compared with a year ago and
11 percent compared with December.

Ben Bartolotto, research director for CIRB, noted that the
monthly decreases from December to January were typical as January is usually
one of the weakest months for housing starts. He also noted any enthusiasm for
the year-over-year increases seen in January should be tempered with the fact
that the numbers for January 2009 posted the lowest annual rate on record.

CIRB is forecasting a modest recovery for 2010, with permits being
pulled for 52,000 total units, up slightly from the record-low 36,289 permits
pulled in 2009.

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