WASHINGTON - The Home Builder's Multifamily Production Index (MPI) recorded strong gains for the building of apartments and condominiums in the beginning of the year.

MPI, which tracks builder sentiment about current conditions, hit 53 in the first quarter, which marked its ninth consecutive quarter of a reading of 50 or higher. issued by the national Association of Home Builders, the MPI has remained higher than 50 since the fourth quarter of 2010.

The Multifamily Vacancy Index, which tracks the multifamily housing industry's opinion of vacancies, dipped 1 point to 37. Lower numbers on the MVI indicate fewer vacancies. The MVI has improved steadily through 2010.

"The MPI shows stable production of apartments and condos, which is what our forecast calls for," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "In 2014, we expect multifamily [housing] starts to grow about 6 percent over 2013, to about 326,000 units."

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