The U.S. Census Bureau reported today that new housing starts dipped 16% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 880,000 units in January, the largest percentage drop since February, 2011.
New building permits also fell by 5.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 937,000, and home completions rose 4.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 814,000.
Single-family housing starts activity actually rose 10.7 percent in the West and 2 percent in the Northeast, but fell 13.8 percent in the South and tumbled 60.3 percent in the Midwest, where unseasonably cold weather might be to blame.
Last month, the same kind of cold weather chilled housing starts by 9.8%.
“Though the decline in starts is largely weather related, it is worth noting that on the upside housing production for the fourth quarter was above 1 million for the first time since 2008 while single-family permits held relatively steady,” said NAHB chief economist David Crowe.
Still, home builders expect some growth in the year to come.
“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,” said Crowe.