February construction starts rose 6% compared with the same month a year ago, according to Reed Construction Data. Starts fell from January, however, largely due to bad weather. Nationwide, the vacancy rate for office space stands at 20% and at 13% for warehouses; local vacancy rates are likely to determine how quickly the construction industry recovers in a given market. Meanwhile, the construction materials price index edged up 0.1% in February, slightly ahead of overall inflation.
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