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March 5, 2014

Winter Weather Chills Housing Starts

Due largely to unusually severe weather across much of the nation, housing starts fell 16 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 880,000 units in January, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau reported last month. Meanwhile, single-family permits, which are often a harbinger of future building activity, posted a 1.3 percent decline to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 602,000 units.

"Cold weather clearly put a chill on new home construction last month," says Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders. "Further, builders continue to face other obstacles, including rising materials prices and a lack of buildable lots and labor."

NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe remains optimistic. "It is worth noting that housing production for the fourth quarter was above 1 million for the first time since 2008, while single-family permits held relatively steady" he says. "The less weather sensitive permits data suggests that our forecast for solid growth in single-family housing production in 2014 remains on track, as pent-up housing demand is unleashed."

In January, single-family housing starts posted a 15.9 percent decline to 573,000 units while multifamily production fell 16.3 percent to 307,000 units. Regionally, single-family starts activity rose 10.7 percent in the West and 2 percent in the Northeast and fell 13.8 percent in the South and 60.3 percent in the Midwest.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014