The first month of 2012 experienced an increase in building permits for privately owned and single-family homes, according to a report released by the Commerce Department, but construction start data differed between the two types of housing.
According to the report, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of privately owned housing units reached 676,000 - nearly 1 percent higher than December's total and 19 percent ahead of the pace recorded a year earlier.
Similarly, permits for single-family properties reached a rate of 445,000 during January, which marked a 0.9 percent hike from the month before.
However, when it came to housing starts, privately owned units saw a 1.5 percent increase on a monthly basis, as construction of these units reached a pace of 699,000. Single-family starts, conversely, fell from a pace of 513,000 to 508,000 month-to-month.
In a statement following the release of the report, High Frequency Economics chief U.S. economist Ian Shepherdson said the report's findings are in line with property data reported by the federal government since late 2012.
"The upturn in permits and starts in recent months has been consistent with the surge in the ... survey of homebuilders, which has surprised the markets to the upside for five straight months," said Shepherdson.