New Jersey homebuilders last month obtained 2,410 residential building permits. That's more than in any February since 1987.

Kaybe70, ThinkStock

The latest U.S. Census Bureau data point to the fastest start for home construction in New Jersey since 2006.

The number of permits issued in February was almost double January's total, and more than double last year's February total.

These permits are the final approvals necessary before construction can begin.

"I think overall the housing market in New Jersey, particularly multifamily housing, has considerable momentum," said Patrick O'Keefe, director of economic research at CohnReznick in Roseland.

Multifamily housing, comprised of attached units such as apartments and condos, accounted for more than 72 percent of the permit activity in February. Single-family permits saw a decline.

"For decades, the single family American dream was what drove housing construction," O'Keefe said. "More recently, particularly since the downturn in 2008, households have become more aware of the risks of homeownership."

Despite the strong start, O'Keefe said, his homebuilding forecast calls for quieter activity in 2016 overall compared to last year.

In 2015, roughly 31,000 residential permits were issued — the most since 2006.

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