Widely-watched economic statistics that measures the number of new houses and apartments that are being built. The statistics are released monthly by the Commerce Department. The data splits out construction on both homes and apartments. It also is broken out into regions such as the Northeast, West, Midwest, and South. The data is seasonally adjusted. In 2002, construction began on 1.7 million new homes and apartments, compared with 1.6 million in 2001. The 2002 numbers were the best showing since 1.81 million homes and apartments were built in 1986.