Housing permits up

Housing-permit approvals statewide rose slightly in February compared with the previous month, but year-to-date numbers are down.

Tuesday the state Department of Economic and Community Development reported approval of 244 housing permits in Connecticut last month. That's up from 236 approvals in January but down from February 2012 when 401 units of housing were OK'd. So far this year, permit approvals in Connecticut are down 13.5 percent from 2012. At this time last year, 555 approvals had gone through, while only 480 units have gotten the go-ahead this year. Few permits have been issued in southeastern Connecticut so far this year. Leading the way is New London, which has issued six permits through February. Last year, Connecticut housing permits surged, and in December reached a level not seen since 2008.

A nationwide home sales report also released Tuesday showed house prices rose in January at the fastest annual pace since June 2006, just before the housing bubble burst. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index climbed 8.1 percent.

- Lee Howard

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