Completions were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 711,000, which was just shy of January's revised estimate of 715,000, but 24.3 percent above the same month a year ago.
Building permits came in at 946,000, or 33.8 percent above the same month a year ago.
U.S. builders started on 780,000 homes last year. That was 28.1 percent above 2011. An estimated 651,400 housing units were completed in 2012, which was up 11.4 percent compared to 2011.